A whirlwind offseason for the Seattle Storm continued apace Wednesday, as the team announced a series of roster moves that included the departure of two key contributors from their 2018 and 2020 championship teams.
After designating her a core player last month, Seattle shipped 2019 Defensive Player of the Year Natasha Howard to New York in exchange for the No. 1 pick in the 2021 draft, and both a first-round (via Phoenix) and second-round pick in 2022.
“The magnitude of Natasha choosing to be in New York cannot be overstated,” said Liberty General Manager Jonathan Kolb in a release.
The Storm then flipped the top pick to Dallas for third-year guard Katie Lou Samuelson (herself the fourth overall pick in 2019) and another 2022 second-rounder, while sending the 2022 first-round pick from the Howard deal to Minnesota for second-year forward Mikiah Herbert Harrigan.
“The decision to trade a young and talented player in Katie Lou Samuelson was a difficult one,” said Wings President & CEO Greg Bibb in a release. ” … That said, the opportunity to acquire the top pick in a draft does not present itself very often.”
In yet another move, guard Sami Whitcomb was also sent to the Liberty in a sign-and-trade in exchange for the rights to forward Stephanie Talbot.
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The wave of transactions comes on the heels of the signing of seven-time All-Star Candice Dupree and retirement of Crystal Langhorne on Monday, and the departure of defensive stalwart Alysha Clark to Washington earlier in the offseason.
Seattle still technically has one free agent remaining on the market, but Sue Bird has already agreed in principle to re-sign with the team, as first reported by Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.
That would leave just one open spot on the current roster, not accounting for Talbot, Latvian forward Kitija Laksa, or any of the team’s four 2021 draft picks (No. 11, 18, 23, and 35).