Moving to the Music: A Guide to Offseason Player Movement
faces in new places|
New faces in new places
"Here Comes The Rain Again Lyrics,"
-Wendy Palmer signed with the Seattle Storm (February 22)
One of only a handful of players still remaining from the inaugural season back in 1997, Wendy Palmer is the journeyman of that elite group. This season she will play wth the Seattle Storm, her sixth team. But all the years and all that traveling has made her wiser and a great leader. Even a great leader like Storm guard Sue Bird recognized Palmer's leadership in her first day at training camp. With Suzy Batkovic not returning this season and after the departure of Kamila Vodichkova prior to last season, the Storm will benefit tremendously from Palmer's presence, which could also be important if Lauren Jackson needs to rest those sore legs.
Teasley heads home to Washington to play with the Mystics.|
J. Pottheiser/NBAE/Getty Images
"In a Big Country," Big Country
-Connecticut Sun 2005 Draft pick Erin Phillips signs (March 27)
When it became clear that Lindsay Whalen's surgically repaired leg was not healing as quickly as it needed to, the Connecticut Sun were overjoyed to learn that Australian guard Erin Phillips would be heading to the United States to join the team this summer. After being drafted in 2005, Phillips did not play with the Sun this year, but was very impressive in Australia's WNBL this offseason. She is also only 20 years old. Phillips will play an invaluable role as the team waits for Whalen's return to health. But speaking of the Southern Hemisphere, the Sun also signed New Zealand star Donna Loffhagen, a 28-year old forward who could also crack the rotation this season. Back fully loaded with talent from all over the globe, look out for the Sun once again in 2006...
Says You Can't Go Home," Bon Jovi
Nikki Teasley traded to Washington for Temeka Johnson (March 1)
Washington-area native Nikki Teasley was traded to the Washington Mystics during the offseason in what was likely the biggest move of the offseason. Teasley is an All-Star with championship experience. Pair her in the backcourt with Alana Beard and you have one of the most formidible, creative and talented tandems in the WNBA. Both are tall for tall, long and athletic, can score, pass and make their teammates better. Teasley missed the end of last season due to injuries, but has a great offseason playing in Hungary. Johnson was the 2005 WNBA Rookie of the Year, and while smaller than Teasley, was second in the WNBA in assists last season. She also has two of the best frontcourt players in the world to pass to, so those numbers are likely to climb even higher.
Anna DeForge traded to the Indiana Fever for Kelly Miller (February 3)
Anna DeForge has been on of the best three-point shooters in the WNBA over the past few seasons, yet she, too, finds herself with a new address this season. After donning the orange and purple in Phoenix, she will now fire away in blue and yellow. She trades places with Kelly Miller, a point guard who may start in Phoenix until Cappie Pondexter is ready to take the reins.
"Patiently Waiting," 50 Cent (feat. Eminem)
Vickie Johnson signed with the San Antonio Silver Stars (February 9)
After nine season and four trips to the WNBA Finals with the New York Liberty, Vickie Johnson will have another go at it, albeit this time wearing silver and black. As part of the Liberty's rebuilding efforts, Johnson finds herself the senior-most veteran on an up-and-coming team in the middle of Texas. She will be paired in the backcourt with another Johnson, Shannon, while franchise player Marie Ferdinand is out on maternity leave. Of course, the fact that she is much closer to her new home doesn't hurt. Johnson is near the top of many historical stat categories, but only a championship eludes her at this point in her career.
Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," U2
Crystal Robinson signs with the Washington Mystics (February 8)
Unable to win the ring in her seven seasons in New York, Crystal Robinson heads south to Washington where she joins up with the Mystics this season. Not only is she one of the best clutch shooters in WNBA history, but Robinson is the ultimate teammate, an underappreciated star and a shut-down defender. Along with Johnson and Teresa Weatherspoon, her blue-collar attitude and work ethic personified the New York Liberty for the duration of that franchise's history. Now she brings that veteran leadership to a rebuilt Mystics team full of All-Stars.
| Vickie Johnson
has a new home in Texas, near her actual home. |
J. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images
"Don't Talk to Strangers," Rick Springfield
Tamecka Dixon signed with Houston Comets (February 28)
Like Johnson, Tamecka Dixon played her entire nine-year career in one city, only to find herself a stranger in a once-hostile town. The former Los Angeles Sparks guard won two rings in L.A., but signed with the arch-rival Houston Comets this offseason. Dixon's addition to the roster fills a void left by Janeth Arcain, who will not be back with the team this year. Her playoff experience also adds to the veteran leadership on this team... Swoopes, Thompson and Staley may be the sentimental favorites this season, but Houston cannot win it all without a hot, healthy Dixon firing on all cylinders.
"You Found Me," Kelly Clarkson
Seimone Augustus drafted by the Minnesota Lynx (April 5)
Not every rookie comes into the WNBA ready to make an impact. In fact, most do not. But in Seimone Augustus, the Minnesota Lynx have found a potential All-Star and game-changer. She was the consensus number one pick in the Draft and turns the Lynx into playoff contenders right away. Since it's all about playing time, though, not everyone will have the impact that Augustus is likely to make. Also likely to make a big splash in their rookie seasons are Cappie Pondexter in Phoenix, Sophia Young in San Antonio and Candice Dupree in Chicago.
"Welcome Back," Mase
Kedra Holland-Corn signed with the Detroit Shock (February 1)
Like the Harlem-based rapper who left the game for a few years, Detroit's Kedra Holland-Corn makes a big return to the stage this season as well. Holland-Corn was an integral member of the Shock's championship team back in 2003. But after one year in Houston and another year out of the league, her return to Detroit should make the already-loaded team even better. She is also a true point guard on a team that lacks a true starter at that position.
"Reason To Believe," Bruce Springsteen
Tamika Whitmore signed with the Indiana Fever (March 17)
What would this countdown be without a Bruce song... the only artist to make it three years running. Quite fitting as Whitmore joins her third team in four seasons. A big, strong presence in the paint, Whitmore should alleviate some of the scoring and rebounding burden from M.V.P.-candidate Tamika Catchings. The Fever were also busy signing Charlotte Smith and Olympia Scott. Are these the changes needed to put the Fever over the top as prime contenders in the Eastern Conference? Well, as the Boss once sang, "I've got the fever, Nothing that a po' boy can do."
Other Notable Personnel Changes:
"Dance Into The Light," Phil Collins
After playing supporting roles in Detroit and indiana respectively, the New York Liberty acquired Barb Farris and Kelly Schumacher in the offseason, and both will be heavily relied upon in the Big Apple.
"It's Been A While," Staind
An All-Star in 2003, center Adrian Williams is back in the WNBA after playing overseas last season. She will add to the already-impressive depth in the frontcourt for the Minnesota Lynx.
"Gonna Make You Sweat,"
C&C Music Factory
With all the running they are going to do in the hot desert that is Phoenix, Kristen Rasmussen and Tamicha Jackson will be breaking more than a cool sweat with the Mercury.
Enough Of You Baby," Smash Mouth
Wanted: experienced veteran to help new, young team develop character and get settled in a new town -- Chicago Sky.
In Search Of...: a job with a young team where I can still get good playing time but help young players develop early in the WNBA careers -- Nikki McCray.
Nikki McCray, meet your new team, the Chicago Sky.