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Dallas Wings get 3-time WNBA champion, former 2020 Rookie of the Year in blockbuster trade

“On the court, we are adding an all-star caliber player who is one of the premier defenders in the game..." said Wings President and CEO Greg Bibb.
Credit: Dallas Wings

DALLAS — The Dallas Wings are staying true to their goal in creating a championship caliber team this upcoming season with a big move Monday.

In a three-team trade involving the New York Liberty and the Connecticut Sun, Dallas acquired two-time WNBA All-Star and three-time WNBA champion Natasha Howard, as well as the playing rights to 2020 WNBA Rookie of the Year Crystal Dangerfield.

In exchange, the Wings sent forward Kayla Thornton to New York and guard Ty Harris to Connecticut.

Howard is joining the Wings after an All-Star season with the New York Liberty, where she started in 35 games and averaged 15.1 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists. Not only is she a three-time champ and two-time All-Star, but she’s also a two-time WNBA All-Defensive Team selection, the 2019 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year and the 2018 Most Improved Player.

In 2019, when Howard played for the Seattle Storm, she posted a career-year on both ends of the court. She averaged 18.1 points and 8.2 rebounds per game en route to earning All-WNBA First Team honors. On the defensive side that season, she led the WNBA in steals (74), setting a single-season franchise-high for the Storm. 

Howard's career has included stops in Indiana (where she was drafted fifth overall in 2014), Minnesota, Seattle and New York. 

Credit: AP
New York Liberty forward Natasha Howard (6) is defended by Dallas Wings forward Kayla Thornton during the first half of a WNBA basketball game in Arlington, Texas, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

“On the court, we are adding an All-Star caliber player who is one of the premier defenders in the game,” Wings President and CEO Greg Bibb said. “Off the court, we are adding a veteran who has won on the biggest stage in the biggest moments. Rarely can you address as many needs in one transaction as we do with the addition of Natasha. We are excited to have her join our organization.” 

Dangerfield, who is entering her fourth season in the WNBA, was named the 2020 WNBA Rookie of the Year Award after a breakout season in which she averaged 16.2 points and nearly four assists per game for the Lynx. Over the entirety of her three-year career, she’s appeared in 85 games, averaging nine points and three assists. 

Dangerfield was drafted in the second round in 2020 out of the University of Connecticut by Minnesota. In her final year as a Husky under Geno Auriemma, Dangerfield earned American Athletic Conference First Team honors, totaling nearly 15 points per game. 

Credit: NBAE via Getty Images
ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 8: Crystal Dangerfield #3 of the New York Liberty drives to the basket during the game against the Dallas Wings on August 8, 2022 at the College Park Center in Arlington, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Tim Heitman/NBAE via Getty Images)

“We are excited to obtain the exclusive negotiating rights to Crystal Dangerfield and the prospect of adding her to the Wings roster,” Bibb said. “We look forward to working to sign her to an agreement and having her join the team. She is a player who adds depth and experience to our backcourt and brings the ability to score and distribute the basketball at an elite level.”

In the three-team trade deal, Thornton, who spent six seasons with the Wings, will head to the New York Liberty along with Connecticut Sun forward and 2021 MVP Jonquel Jones.  

Harris, who was drafted by the Wings in 2020, will join the Connecticut Sun along with New York Liberty guard Rebecca Allen.

The Sun will also receive the sixth overall selection in the 2023 WNBA Draft from New York.

“I would like to thank Kayla and Ty for their contributions, both on and off the court,” Bibb said. “Both are outstanding basketball players and better people. We wish them the best both personally and professionally moving forward.”

The Dallas Wings will kick off their season against the Atlanta Dream on Saturday, May 20, under new head coach Latricia Trammell

During a press conference following her introduction in November 2022, Trammell expressed her excitement over the job and vowed to bring an immediate impact to the Wings, highlighting that the team needed to level up on the defensive end. 

Monday's blockbuster deal is evident of that mindset, as Howard and Dangerfield bring an upgraded defensive mindset to the team.

The Wings have made back-to-back playoff appearances, yet it seems the squad just hasn't been able to get over the hump in terms of post-season wins.  

For her part, Trammell seems ready to take a crack at the Wings taking that leap this season, bringing her passion, hard grit and championship mentality to the team. 

"They're capable," Trammell said of the Wings roster in November when asked about the team's prospects of improving upon its past finishes. "Everyone is going to have an opportunity to eat."

Clicked here for more information about the Wings' upcoming season and for tickets to seem play their home games at College Park Center in Arlington, Texas.  

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