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WNBA trade grades: Storm, Liberty, Mercury, Wings, Lynx shake up the league with a series of stunning deals

The 2021 WNBA offseason got off to a flying start in the early days of free agency, but things had slowed down considerably once many of the big names were off the board. But on Wednesday, nearly half the league conspired to jump-start the action with a series of stunning trades.

In the span of just a few hours, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 WNBA Draft changed hands multiple times and seven players were sent to new teams. There were so many moves made in conjunction with one another that for a brief period of time it wasn’t even clear where everyone was heading.

But now the dust has settled and we have all the details. So let’s break it down and grade each team’s involvement.

We’ll start with the Storm because they were the most active team on Wednesday, executing four separate deals to move all of their pieces around. In the first deal, they sent Howard to the Liberty for the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, a 2022 first-round pick (via Phoenix) and a 2022 second round pick. Then they sent the 2022 first-round pick (via Phoenix) to the Lynx in exchange for Herbert Harrigan. Next up they traded Whitcomb to the Liberty in exchange for Talbot, and finally, they moved the No. 1 overall pick to the Wings for Samuelson and a 2022 second-round pick.

This has been an… interesting offseason for the Storm. Alysha Clark already left for Washington in free agency, and with Howard and Whitcomb now off to New York, they’ve lost three key members of their title teams from 2018 and 2020. The replacements they’ve brought in aren’t the most inspiring.

Samuelson is now on her third team in three seasons after being the No. 4 overall pick in 2019, Herbert Harrigan showed some flashes as a rookie last season but is still quite young and Talbot is a solid role player but not much more. There’s definitely potential there, especially with Samuelson and Herbert Harrigan, so it’s possible things work out in the long term. But right now the Storm are worse than they were on the final day of last season, and that will make their title defense quite difficult.
• No. 6 overall pick in the 2021 WNBA Draft (via Phoenix)

The Liberty participated in three trades on Wednesday, and first sent Kia Nurse and Megan Walker to the Mercury in exchange for the No. 6 overall pick in the 2021 Draft and 2022 first-round pick. From there, they sent the No. 1 overall pick and the 2022 first-round pick from the Mercury to the Storm in exchange for Natasha Howard and a 2022 second-round pick. Lastly, they sent Stephanie Talbot to the Storm in exchange for Sami Whitcomb in a separate transaction. Read from source….