Moving to the Music: A Guide to Offseason Player Movement
It's your favorite article of the year, music lovers. It's time once again to look back on the offseason's top roster changes. The exciting part? It's all set to music. And while my musical preferences might differ from those of the talented Mr. Wurst (see: Taste, bad), his influence will no doubt be felt… it will be the horrible pain you're feeling in your ears (see if you can figure out whose songs are whose). Anyway, from enormous draft day trades to veterans finding a new home, we'll take a move-by-move look at the offseason's biggest maneuvers. Like we did in 2004, 2005 and 2006 let's start the music up once again…
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-Becky Hammon traded to the San Antonio Silver Stars (April 4)
'Twas draft day in Cleveland, and all thoughts were on the college seniors and where they'd be headed in the WNBA. San Antonio snagged Ohio State post player Jessica Davenport with the No. 2 pick and soon after announced they had traded her to the New York Liberty for All-Star guard Becky Hammon. Oohs and aahs filled the room. "They traded a superstar!" ESPN analyst and basketball legend Nancy Lieberman said of Hammon, who has averaged more than 13.5 points per game every year since 2002. "She's not a role player! She's the face of this league, many would say." And it's the biggest single move of the offseason.
2. "Real Love" and "Family Affair," Mary J. Blige
-Taj McWilliams-Franklin traded to the Los Angeles Sparks (Feb. 21)
The first song is for Taj's husband, Reggie Franklin, who is a sergeant in the U.S. Army and has spent time in Iraq. But it's also for Taj, herself, who has left the Miracle/Sun franchise after eight years for a fresh start in Los Angeles. The second song refers more to why the Sparks were so keen on bringing her in: i.e., the loss of Lisa Leslie for the season while she is pregnant with her first child. Minnesota's Vanessa Hayden will also miss most if not all of the season due to pregnancy. On the other hand, returning from a pregnancy is San Antonio's Marie Ferdinand-Harris. Mamas, make sure your babies grow up to be "W" fans.
3. "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough," Michael Jackson
-Ruth Riley traded from Detroit to San Antonio for Katie Feenstra (Feb. 22)
This song works for both the Shock -- who, despite winning the 2006 title and having a stocked roster, got rid of Riley, picked up Feenstra and signed veteran point guard Shannon Johnson to a free agent deal -- and the Silver Stars, who, along with Hammon, Riley and Ferdinand-Harris, have added last year's Most Improved Player Erin Buescher, Sandora Irvin and Helen Darling. Will either team stop? Does either squad have enough? We'll see on the court.
4. "Separate Ways," Journey
-Charlotte Sting Dispersal Draft (Jan. 8)
When it was announced that the Sting were folding, thoughts immediately turned to Charlotte's solid crop of players. And in January's Dispersal Draft, they all went their separate ways: Monique Currie to Chicago, Tangela Smith to Minnesota (temporarily… see No. 5 below), Janel McCarville to New York and Kelly Mazzante to Phoenix, among the more notable.
5. "Temperature," Sean Paul
-Tangela Smith traded from Minnesota to Phoenix for rights to No. 1 draft pick Lindsey Harding (April 4)
After being selected by the Lynx in the Sting's Dispersal Draft, Smith was dealt to Phoenix on draft day for Harding. Minnesota to Phoenix? That's a serious change in temperature. This high-scoring forward will team with Diana Taurasi and Cappie Pondexter to keep the Mercury offense hot. Also set to enjoy the desert heat are Olympia Scott and Kelly Schumacher, who the Mercury picked up in separate trades.
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-Tammy Sutton-Brown signs with Indiana Fever (March 23)
After spending the last six seasons in Charlotte, Sutton-Brown wants a title, and perhaps that was her thinking in signing a free agent deal with the Fever. She'll get a shot in Indiana where Tamika Catchings, Tamika Whitmore, Anna DeForge and others have their sights set on a ring. Sting castoff Sheri Sam and Ann Strother, who the Fever landed in the Olympia Scott deal, add depth off the bench.
7. "Sweet Home Chicago," The Blues Brothers
-Dominique Canty signs with Chicago Sky (Feb. 12)
This Chicago native spent the last four seasons in Houston after beginning her career in Detroit. Now a grizzled 30-year-old veteran, Canty brings some experience to the young, up-and-coming group in Chicago led by the aforementioned Monique Currie and rookie Armintie Price. Free agent Kayte Christensen also inked a deal with the Sky and will add depth at the forward spot.
8. "It's All Coming Back to Me Now," Celine Dion
-Chelsea Newton traded back to Sacramento Monarchs (March 23)
After a solid season with a less-than-solid first-year team in Chicago, defensive specialist Newton was dealt back to the Monarchs this spring. She won a title there in 2005 and could be the rung of the ladder to help put them back over the top again in 2007. Also bound for the defending Western Conference champs are Adrian Williams (via trade from Minnesota) and LaTangela Atkinson (from Indiana).
9. "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday," Boyz II Men
-Retirement of Dawn Staley
A true legend, Staley said goodbye to her playing days after her Comets were ousted from the Western Conference semifinals, retiring after a long career in the WNBA and ABL. The three-time Olympic gold medalist has already gone on to become a well-respected college coach at Temple. Also calling it quits after the 2006 season were Charlotte Smith and two-time WNBA champion Kedra Holland-Corn.
10. "Big Boss Man," Elvis Presley/Grateful Dead
-New coaches in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Minnesota and Sacramento
No, the new coaches are not all big boss men, but you get the point. Michael Cooper returns to the Sparks with hopes of bringing back the championship mentality, despite being without Lisa Leslie. Elsewhere, Bo Overton brings college experience to a young squad in Chicago, Karleen Thompson takes over a solid roster in Houston, Don Zierden retools in Minneosta and Jenny Boucek looks for a return trip to the Finals with the Monarchs.