Strange trade: Kara Braxton to Liberty, Sidney Spencer to Mercury

First there was this from AZCentral: Kara Braxton misses Mercury practice Thursday (after serving a one-game suspension Tuesday for “conduct detrimental to the team”).

Then the news got out – the Merc traded the forward to New York for Sidney Spencer.

Phoenix version.

The Liberty’s version is only available via fan email, and isn’t yet posted on the team website:

The New York Liberty have acquired All-Star forward/center Kara Braxton from the Phoenix Mercury in exchange for forward Sidney Spencer, it was announced today by Head Coach and General Manager John Whisenant.

“Kara is a All-Star player with championship experience that has been successful in the league for a number of years and will make an immediate impact on the court. We feel this move increases our depth in the post and sets us up for further success as we look to build a championship caliber team,” said Whisenant. “Sidney Spencer is a incredible leader, tireless worker, and model teammate who will be missed. She’s a great shooter going to Phoenix where shooters are a premium, we wish her success in the future and thank her for her contributions to the franchise.”

Originally drafted by the Detroit Shock as the No. 7 overall pick of the 2005 WNBA Draft from University of Georgia, Braxton has posted career averages of 7.9 ppg and 4.6 rpg. A WNBA All-Star, Braxton helped lead Detroit to two WNBA Championships and has appeared in 41 playoff games averaging 7.4 ppg and 4.6 rpg. Braxton was acquired by Phoenix on July 23, 2010 in a trade sending Nicole Ohlde and a 2011 first round draft pick to Tulsa. This season, the 6-6 forward/center is averaging 10.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg and 1.3 apg. Currently she ranks third in the WNBA in field-goal percentage (.600) and sixth in efficiency ranking per 40 minutes (24.7).

Sidney Spencer was selected by the Los Angeles Sparks with the 25th overall pick in the 2007 WNBA Draft shortly after winning the 2007 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship at the University of Tennessee. The Liberty acquired her rights via a trade with Los Angeles in exchange for the Liberty’s 2010 first round draft pick on May 5, 2009. Spencer is currently averaging 2.5 ppg and 0.8 rpg.

What is the Mercury getting out of this?? Some argue that Spencer shouldn’t even be in the league. Braxton is averaging quadruple Spencer’s points.

Is Braxton really that bad? Was her conduct so detrimental to the team that they wanted her gone?

Just wondering, because we’ll never know.