The Connecticut Sun were one win away from a WNBA title last season. The team added a big piece for potentially getting that extra victory on Tuesday by trading for DeWanna Bonner.
The Sun sent the Phoenix Mercury three first-round draft picks for the All-Star wing. Phoenix received the No. 7 and 10 overall picks in this year’s draft as well as the Sun’s first-round pick next season.
“It’s an exciting day in Connecticut. Obviously, DeWanna Bonner was one of the most coveted free agents out there this season and a perennial All-Star,” Sun coach and general manager Curt Miller said. “To add another versatile established player in this league to our roster was something that was very intriguing and interesting for us. Happy to have her as a part of the family.”
Bonner had played her entire career with the Mercury after getting drafted fifth in 2009. She helped the team win championships in 2009 and 2014. The 32-year-old was the franchise’s all-time leading rebounder (2,072) and second on the scoring list (4,820) behind only Diana Taurasi.
“We drafted DeWanna in 2009, and together we won championships in 2009 and 2014,” Mercury general manager Jim Pitman said.
“We watched as she became a sixth woman of the year, All-Star, all-WNBA player, and most importantly a mother. Ultimately, she has decided the next stage of her career does not include us and we wish her the best. She and her daughters, Cali and Demi, will always remain a part of the Mercury family.”
Bonner missed the 2017 season because she was pregnant.
Bonner was an unrestricted free agent, but by doing a sign-and-trade she was able to potentially earn an extra $30,000 as the new maximum salary in the collective bargaining agreement is $215,000. If she had just signed with Connecticut the maximum she would have been able to earn would have been $185,000.
“The new CBA allowed for a higher amount if you stay with the incumbent team,” Miller said. “Part of it was the negotiation. She’s someone who had been loyal to Phoenix. That played part of it as far as sign and trade versus just signing.”
The Mercury still have a lot of room to make moves with only a half-dozen players under contract. Taurasi, Briann January, Alanna Smith, Brianna Turner and Sophie Cunningham are all signed. Brittney Griner was given the core designation by the team.