Connecticut Sun All-Star point guard Jasmine Thomas has been traded to the Los Angeles Sparks, Khristina Williams of Girls Talk Sports TV reported Monday. Connecticut will also send its 2023 first round pick (No. 10 overall) to Los Angeles in return for Olivia Nelson-Ododa, Jasmine Walker, and the rights to Kianna Smith.
Thomas, 33, tore the ACL in her right knee early in the 2022 season. Before suffering the injury, Thomas had established herself as one of the best point guards in the WNBA, known for stifling perimeter defense and a steady offensive arsenal. She played eight seasons with the Sun, was elected to the 2017 All-Star Game, and started for Connecticut in the 2019 Finals against Washington (the Sun lost in five games). During her time under head coach Curt Miller in Connecticut, Thomas was elected to five All-Defensive teams (three first teams and two second teams).
Now, Thomas will reunite with Miller in Los Angeles. The Sparks are facing a pivotal offseason in which the team has bundles of cap space and very few rotation players under contract. Thomas brings elite leadership to the Sparks, something the team has desperately lacked since losing Candace Parker and Chelsea Gray in free agency following the 2020 season.
Connecticut likely views this trade as a salary dump, with Thomas due to make $190,000 in 2023, and a shaky history of basketball players in their thirties returning from ACL injuries. The Sun traded Jonquel Jones to New York on Sunday, netting the sixth overall pick in 2023 along with Rebecca Allen and Tyasha Harris.
Nelson-Ododa, a UConn graduate, was the 19th overall pick in the 2022 Draft and averaged 14.5 minutes and 4.0 points as a rookie for the Sparks. Walker was the seventh overall pick in the 2021 Draft but has seen limited playing time in her two professional seasons after tearing the ACL in her right knee as a rookie. Smith was the 16th overall pick in the 2022 Draft and saw 10.3 minutes per game in her first professional season with Los Angeles.