The Phoenix Mercury made a splash on Wednesday, trading for New York Liberty All-Star Kia Nurse and second-year player Megan Walker.
The Mercury will send the sixth pick in the 2021 WNBA draft and a first round pick in the 2022 draft to New York.
In three years, Nurse averaged 11.6 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2 assists per game. She was a 2019 All-Star starter.
“With a hard salary cap and great parity in our league, you rarely get the opportunity to add a 24-year-old All-Star, much less a player whose skill set and temperament fits seamlessly with our roster,” Mercury General Manager Jim Pitman said in a statement.
“Kia Nurse was our top acquisition target this offseason because of her outside shooting, aggressiveness off the dribble, size and versatility on defense, and competitiveness. We welcome her to the Mercury family.”
Walker was the ninth pick in the 2020 WNBA draft. She averaged 3.3 points and 1.5 rebounds per game in her rookie season. A forward out of Connecticut, Walker was a First Team All-American in 2019.
“If Megan Walker had stayed for her senior season at UConn, we believe that she would have been considered among the top prospects of the 2021 draft class,” Plummer said. “She shot over 45 percent from three-point range her last year in college, is shooting better than 40% from three in Europe this offseason, and has the potential to be an important part of our roster in 2021.”
Kia Nurse Latest Big Addition
The Mercury have been aggressive in the past few offseasons. The team acquired point guard Skylar Diggins-Smith and Jessica Breland heading into last season.
In addition to adding Nurse and Walker, the franchise also signed Taurasi to a two-year extension last month.
The Mercury finished fifth in the Western Conference in the WNBA bubble in Bradenton, Florida last year. The team made it to the second round of the playoffs before being knocked out by the Minnesota Lynx.