McCoughtry headed to Las Vegas; Toliver to Los Angeles
NEW YORK (AP) — Angel McCoughtry is headed to Las Vegas and Kristi Toliver is going back to Los Angeles on the first day that WNBA free agents can sign with new teams.
“Viva Las Vegas, baby!” McCoughtry said before heading back to Russia, where she plays during the WNBA offseason for Dynamo Kursk.
“I am truly honored for the opportunity to continue my career and make my return to the WNBA with the Las Vegas Aces. I can’t wait to get to know the fans and the community, and bond with my new teammates. It is truly a blessing to continue playing the game that I love and to help make history in this amazing organization.”
Toliver is headed back to Los Angeles the team confirmed to The AP after she spent the past few seasons in Washington and led the Mystics to their first WNBA championship. Toliver helped the Sparks win the title in 2016. She averaged 13 points and six assists last season for the Mystics.
“Heading into 2020 freeeaAgency, we wanted to add players that possess multiple skil sets and Kristi is at the top of that list,” Sparks coach Derek Fisher said. “Kristi understands the habits and dedication required on a daily basis to build a championship culture. We’re all excited to have her rejoin the Sparks family.”
McCoughtry spent her entire career in Atlanta with the Dream after getting drafted by them with the No. 1 pick in 2009. She averaged 19.1 points in her career. McCoughtry only appeared in one game last season while recovering from a knee injury.
“Angel was a primary target for us during free agency,” Aces coach and Bill Laimbeer said. “She is an elite level scorer who loves to attack the basket, and is also one of the best defenders in the league. When she steps on the court, we immediately become a stronger team on both ends of the floor out on the perimeter.
“Angel knows the kind of culture we are building here with our core group, and her addition moves us another step closer to our goal of bringing a championship to the city of Las Vegas.”
McCoughtry led the league in scoring in 2012 and 2013, Atlanta announced last month that the team would allow its star to explore free agency this offseason.
In other moves Monday, the Los Angeles Sparks traded Kalani Brown to the Dream for Brittney Sykes and Marie Gülich.
“We’re excited to add two more talented players to our roster in Brittney Sykes and Marie Gülich,” Sparks managing partner and governor Eric Holoman said. “Brittney is an athletic young guard who puts pressure on the defense, gets to the free-throw line and takes pride on the defensive end. Marie gives our frontcourt additional rim protection and rebounding.”
Seattle acquired Morgan Tuck and the No. 11 pick from the Connecticut Sun for the No. 7 pick in the draft.
“We are thrilled to welcome Morgan to Seattle Storm basketball,” Storm CEO and general manager Alisha Valavanis said. “Morgan is an elite competitor with a championship pedigree. She adds a versatility that we believe will complement our team and our style of play.”
The Sun also re-signed star Jonquel Jones, who was a restricted free agent. She averaged 17.9 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in their run to the WNBA Finals.
“We are pumped to have JJ sign a multi-year contract to stay in Connecticut,” head coach and general manager Curt Miller said in a statement. “She has proven to be one of the most dominant and versatile players in the world. She continues to be one of the elite rebounders in the game and took a huge step on the defensive side of the ball in 2019. She is just scratching the surface and we look forward to her continued growth and leadership in 2020.”
Dallas brought back 2019 AP Player of the Year Megan Gustafson, who signed as a free agent with the team last year. The Wings also are bringing back Moriah Jefferson, who missed last season with an injury. She was acquired from Las Vegas in the trade that sent Liz Cambage to the Aces.
DeWanna Bonner is the top free agent who potentially could still change teams. Other top unrestricted free agents who are expected to re-sign with their current teams include Sue Bird (Seattle), Elena Delle Donne and Emma Meesseman (Washington), Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley (Chicago).
Players that re-sign with their current teams can make a maximum of $215,000 with the new CBA that was ratified last month. If they go to a new team they can make $185,000.
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