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Lynx Acquire Fowles, Sky Get de Souza in Three-Team Trade

The Minnesota Lynx, Chicago Sky and Atlanta Dream have agreed on a trade that sends center Sylvia Fowles and Chicago’s 2016 second-round pick to the Lynx. The Dream send Erika de Souza to the Sky, and the Lynx send forwards Damiris Dantas, Reshanda Gray and their 2016 first-round pick to the Dream. Below are the official releases on the trade from each team.

Minnesota Release

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL – The Minnesota Lynx today announced the team has acquired center Sylvia Fowles along with Chicago’s 2016 second round draft pick in a three-team deal that sends Damiris Dantas, Reshanda Gray and its 2016 first round pick to the Atlanta Dream. As part of the deal, Atlanta sends Erika de Souza to Chicago.

“We’re excited to welcome Sylvia to the Minnesota Lynx organization,” said Executive Vice President Roger Griffith. “She’s a proven, defensive All-Star player and we expect her to step in and be a great leader on and off the court. She’s been one of the elite centers in the WNBA and will be a key addition to our championship caliber roster.”

Originally drafted second overall in the 2008 WNBA Draft by the Chicago Sky, Fowles has averaged 15.7 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in 186 career regular season WNBA games (177 starts), all with Chicago. She was named a WNBA All-Star in 2009, 2011 and 2013 and is a two-time WNBA Defensive Player of the year (2011, 2013). Fowles is a two-time All-WNBA First Team selection (2010, 2013), as well as a four time All-WNBA Defensive First Team selection (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013).

The 6’6 center averaged 13.4 points and 10.2 rebounds per game to help the Chicago Sky to a 15-19 record and the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals. She played in just 20 games in 2014 after being sidelined to start the season due to hip injury. Fowles aided the Sky in 2013 to a 24-10 mark, its best record in franchise history, the Eastern Conference season title and the Sky’s first playoff berth. She averaged 16.3 points per game and a league-best 11.5 rebounds. In 2011, Fowles averaged 20.0 points (3rd in the WNBA), 10.2 rebounds (2nd) and a league-best 2.0 blocks per game. In 2012, she shot a league-best 63.8% from the floor in 25 games (all starts), the third-highest single season field goal percentage in WNBA history.

Fowles will be the fifth Olympian on the Minnesota Lynx roster, joining Seimone Augustus, Asjha Jones, Maya Moore and Lindsay Whalen. She won Olympic gold medals with the USA Basketball Women’s National Team at the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympic Games. She currently ranks seventh all-time among U.S. Olympic career record holders for rebounds (85) and eighth for field goal percentage (.643) through two Olympiads.

Prior to the WNBA, Fowles played for Louisiana State University from 2004-2008. During her four years, she helped lead LSU to a 125-21 record (.856), three Southeastern Conference regular season titles, twice earning perfect league records, and four NCAA Finals Fours. She was named the NCAA Regional Most Outstanding Player three times (2006, 2007, 2008) and was named WBCA National Defensive Player of the Year in 2008. In her freshman and sophomore seasons (2004-06), Fowles teamed up with current Lynx guard Seimone Augustus.

Dantas, originally drafted by Minnesota with the 12 overall pick in the 2012 WNBA Draft, heads to Atlanta after averaging 5.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game in her two seasons with Minnesota. Gray heads to Atlanta having played in 10 games for the Lynx averaging 0.6 points and 1.0 rebounds in her rookie season.

Atlanta Release

ATLANTA, July 27, 2015 – The Atlanta Dream has announced that it has completed a three-team Monday with the Minnesota Lynx and Chicago Sky.

The Dream has dealt veteran center Erika de Souza to Chicago and in exchange has received second-year forward Damiris Dantas and rookie Reshanda Gray from Minnesota along with the rights to the Lynx’ first-round selection in the upcoming 2016 WNBA Draft.

Chicago will send Sylvia Fowles and the rights to its own 2016 second-round pick to Minnesota to complete the three-team swap.

“Damiris Dantas is an emerging young talent who has earned a place in this league,” Atlanta Dream head coach Michael Cooper said. She adds another skill player to our front line and can also step out and hit the jumper. She brings youth to our roster which is what we need.”

Dantas, a 6-3 forward from Brazil, is in her second professional season and had appeared in 46 games (27 starts) while averaging 5.9 points and 4.5 rebounds. Her career field goal percentage is a solid .532 (107-for-201). She has seen action in three postseason contests. Dantas was Minnesota’s first-round selection (12th overall) in the 2012 WNBA Draft. She also represented her native country Brazil at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

“Reshanda Gray is a very good young player in this league,” Cooper said. “She is a tough player who competes the boards at both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor. She is versatile and can play and guard a number of different positions. She will also add to the overall skill and youthfulness on our roster and adds a lot of skill and physicality to the four-spot.”

Gray, a 6-4 forward, has played in a total of 10 games during her rookie season after being selected 16th overall by Minnesota in the 2015 WNBA Draft. She should see an increased opportunity for playing time in Atlanta after logging an average of 3.7 minutes per contest this season with the Lynx while recording averages of 0.6 points, 1.0 rebounds and 0.2 blocks in that limited action. Gray played collegiately at California where she was recognized as the 2015 Pac-12 Player of the Year and a finalist for both the Wade Trophy and Wooden Award while recording averages of 17.4 points and 7.1 rebounds.

“As we look to make a strong playoff push in the second half of the season, we are excited to add two young and very talented post players to our roster,” Atlanta Dream President and General Manager Angela Taylor said.  “Damiris and Reshanda both are versatile posts who bring skillsets that will complement the other players on our roster. Both should make an immediate and long-term impact on our franchise.”

“While we are thrilled about these new additions,” Taylor continued, “the organization also wants to thank Erika de Souza for all that she has done on the court and in the greater Atlanta community during her eight seasons with the Dream. We will forever be grateful for her contributions to this organization’s success.”

de Souza played a total of seven-plus seasons in Atlanta where she saw action in a total of 211 regular-season games (207 starts) and was a member of three Eastern Conference Title winning squads. She totaled 2,527 points, 1,784 rebounds, 295 blocks and 232 steals during her Dream tenure.

In addition, de Souza appeared in 28 playoff games for the Dream, opening as the starter in each of those 28. She has helped guide Atlanta to six consecutive postseason appearances and three WNBA Finals (2010, 2011, 2013) while averaging 10.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.2 blocks. She currently ranks 15th on the WNBA’s all-time rebounding list with a 7.5 per game average and sits in 9th place on the league’s all-time field goal percentage list at .533.

Chicago Release

The Chicago Sky has acquired veteran center Erika De Souza from the Atlanta Dream as part of a three-team deal that sends center Sylvia Fowles and the Sky’s second round pick in the 2016 Draft to Minnesota and forwards Damiris Dantas & Reshanda Gray and Minnesota’s first-round pick in the 2016 Draft to Atlanta. Per team policy, contract terms were not disclosed.

“Erika brings veteran leadership, a versatile skill-set and defensive intensity that will complement our existing core,” said Sky Head Coach and General Manager Pokey Chatman. “Her presence in the paint will be extremely valuable as we enter the second half of the season.”

De Souza, now in her 10th WNBA season, started in all 17 games for the Dream during the first half of the 2015 season averaging 8.6 points and 7.5 rebounds per game while maintaining a 45.9% field goal percentage. In her WNBA career, the 6-foot-5 center has played in 254 regular season games, for three teams (Los Angeles, Connecticut, Atlanta). De Souza is a three-time WNBA All-Star (2009, 2013, 2014) with career averages of 10.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. She is Atlanta’s current all-time leader in rebounds (1, 784), double-doubles (68), and games played (211). A product of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, De Souza signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Sparks in 2001. She played one season each with the Sparks (2002) and the Connecticut Sun (2007) before joining the Dream via the 2008 expansion draft.

“Sylvia was one of the founding blocks of our organization,” said Chatman. “Speaking on behalf of not just myself and the staff, but also the fans, I am thankful for the hard work and passion she played with in a Chicago Sky uniform and wish her continued success in her career.”

Fowles averaged 15.7 points and 9.8 rebounds in seven seasons with the Sky. Selected 2nd overall by Chicago in the 2008 WNBA Draft, Fowles is the Sky’s current all-time leader in points (2,927), rebounds (1,832) in addition to seasons (7), games (186) and minutes (5,755) played.