The Phoenix Mercury made a major splash yesterday, when the team announced acquisition of three-time WNBA All-Star and 2021 Finals MVP Kahleah Cooper from the Chicago Sky, in exchange for Brianna Turner, Michaela Onyenwere, and four draft picks — including the third overall pick in the 2024 WNBA Draft.
Things are heatin? up in the Valley ?
— WNBA (@WNBA) February 6, 2024
Signing Cooper — who averaged 18.7 points and 4.4 rebounds per game with the Sky — completely reshapes the current WNBA landscape. Cooper will now join a Mercury team that already includes legends like Brittney Griner, Diana Taurasi and Sophie Cunningham, and the team has brought WNBA standouts like Rebecca Allen and Natasha Cloud on board this offseason, as well.
Even with former Mercury guard Skylar Diggins-Smith having left Phoenix to form a super team with the Seattle Storm, these new additions — capped off by Cooper — make the Mercury an immediate threat to the Las Vegas Aces' ongoing dynasty next season.
While Cooper must be excited about joining such a stacked team, she also commemorated her time in Chicago with a heartfelt Instagram post, writing, '7 years ago almost to the day, I was sitting in my apartment in Belgium when I was traded from DC to Chicago... I came to Chicago with a hunger and a desire to learn, make an impact in the community, and be great on the court. 7 years later I can honestly say, Chicago, I love y'all. We went through ups and downs together; we battled together; WE WON A CHAMPIONSHIP TOGETHER; and most importantly we supported one another.'
Another reason why Phoenix trading for Cooper is notable is because a photo of Cooper standing over Sophie Cunningham during Game 2 of the 2021 WNBA Finals went viral as soon as it happened.
Now Cooper and Cunningham are teammates.
However, any bad blood that the legendary photo (and the Finals it stemmed from) might have created seems to be behind all parties. Now Cooper, Cunningham, and the rest of the Mercury have their sights set on bringing Phoenix its first WNBA title since 2014.
With the Mercury beefing up their roster and the Seattle Storm forming a super team in the Pacific Northwest, it appears that the WNBA will have more legit championship contenders than the league's two current super teams — the Aces and the New York Liberty — next season.
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