Uncasville, CT (SportsNetwork.com) - A blockbuster trade went down during Monday's WNBA Draft, with the Connecticut Sun trading 2012 league MVP Tina Charles to the New York Liberty for a package that included highly regarded rookie forward Alyssa Thomas.
Charles, who has averaged 17.3 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks over her four WNBA seasons, recently told the Sun's management that she would not play for the team in 2014 unless she was traded to her hometown in New York.
"Learning that Tina was willing to sit out unless she was traded to New York was a shock to our organization and extremely unfair to a fanbase that has supported her efforts on and off the court," said Sun vice president and general manager Chris Sienko said. "We made significant changes to our roster this offseason based in part on her feedback. For our fans and this team to be left in the lurch was not an option. New York stepped up with a significant offer that will pay dividends now and in the coming years."
In addition to Thomas, whom the Liberty took fourth overall in Monday's draft, the Sun will receive second-year center Kelsey Bone and New York's first-round pick in 2015.
The rebuilding Sun opened the draft by selecting Stanford forward Chiney Ogwumike with the No. 1 pick.
Charles averaged 18.0 points and 10.5 rebounds to earn the MVP Award in her third pro season, then put up similar numbers this past year, scoring at a clip of 18.0 points per game and pulling down 10.8 boards per contest.
The No. 1 overall choice of the 2010 WNBA Draft, Charles set a league single- season record with 398 rebounds en route to winning Rookie of the Year honors that season. The 25-year-old has led the league in rebounding in three of her four seasons and also set a new WNBA mark with 23 double-doubles in 2011.
Thomas, the Terrapins' all-time leading scorer (2,356) and rebounder (1,235), led the nation with four triple-doubles and topped the ACC with 28 double- doubles this past season. The 6-foot-2 All-American, one of just three players in NCAA history with six or more career triple-doubles, averaged 19.0 points and 10.9 boards to help Maryland reach the 2014 Final Four.
Bone, the fifth overall selection in last year's draft, was named to the league's All-Rookie team after averaging 6.9 points and 5.4 rebounds during her debut campaign.