The Storm traded for veteran guard Katie Smith. Seattle traded Jasmine Thomas, plus its first-round pick in the 2012 draft in a three-team deal with Washington, Indiana.
It took two years and a lot of number crunching, but Katie Smith is finally in a Storm jersey.
The Washington Mystics orchestrated a three-team, sign-and-trade deal that sent Smith and post player Jacinta Monroe to Seattle. The Storm also gets Indiana’s 2012 second-round draft pick, shipping point guard Erin Phillips to the Fever with a 2012 third-round selection.
The Mystics receive point guard Jasmine Thomas, the Storm’s 2011 first-round draft choice; and Seattle’s first-round and Indiana’s third-round picks in the 2012 draft.
Smith, a 12-year veteran who is the WNBA’s third all-time leading scorer, had voiced interest in playing in Seattle since 2010. She has won championships with Storm coach Brian Agler (ABL), assistant coach Nancy Darsch (Ohio State) and Swin Cash (WNBA) and Olympic gold with Sue Bird and Cash.
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“I’m excited we got it done and am real appreciative of Washington for helping me out,” Smith said from her home in Ohio. “I see myself fitting in and really feeling comfortable.”
Smith, a three-time Olympian, was signed to a one-year deal. She has been a starter her entire professional career, but in Seattle will be a reserve who can play anywhere on the perimeter, according to Agler. Smith, a 5-foot-11 guard, averaged 9.5 points while helping the Mystics win the Eastern Conference regular-season title last summer.
“I can fit in anywhere,” she said. “It’s about playing D (defense) and knocking shots. I’ll be ready to contribute wherever.”
Agler, also the Storm’s director of personnel, said serious talks began last winter. With the Storm nearing the $852,000 salary cap, he needed a third team to work with Washington in a deal. Mystics coach and general manager Trudi Lacey wanted Thomas, a Duke standout who could fill her team’s backcourt voids.
The players were also given an opportunity to sign off on the trade.
“It’s not that there was major resistance, it was a fact of everybody being OK with the direction we were going to go,” Agler said. “All three teams benefited from what they wanted to accomplish, but it did take some time.”
The addition of Smith nearly solidifies Seattle’s roster, barring any mishaps before the season opener June 4, Smith’s 37th birthday.
Agler is expecting Monroe to be a strong contender for one of the final two positions on the roster. She missed 15 games due to a fractured left hand in 2010, averaging 2.1 points and 0.9 rebounds in her rookie season.
The 6-5 Monroe could add front-line depth in a Western Conference featuring 2008 MVP Candace Parker, Los Angeles’ 6-4 forward, and Tulsa rookie Liz Cambage, a 6-8 Australian national team member.
“We have not been able to acquire a player like (Jacinta),” said Agler of Monroe, who drafted sixth overall by Washington out of Florida State in 2010. “She’s going to be somebody who develops into being a quality player in our league.”
There could also be lineup shifts due to the waiver wire. Stars like Candice Wiggins (Minnesota), Alana Beard (Washington) and Shameka Christon (Chicago) are returning from injury. There’s an influx of talented rookies and still just 11 roster spots.
“We’re open-minded to see what players have a future and what players can be a good complement to our group,” Agler said. “We’re going to try to squeeze a whole lot of people into not that many opportunities.”
In addition to the 2011 season, the Storm has to consider the future after agreeing with three-time MVP Lauren Jackson’s decision to skip the opening half of the 2012 season to compete in the London Olympics. The Storm is 13-10 without the Australian in its lineup since Agler was named coach in 2008.
Jackson is already in Seattle, and Agler anticipates most of her teammates will be available for the training-camp opener May 15.
“This is a big deal for me,” Smith said.
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or firstname.lastname@example.org