JONQUEL JONES, of the Bahamas, walks down court during the second half of Game 5 in a WNBA basketball playoff semifinal against the Chicago Sky. The New York Liberty have traded for Jonquel Jones, adding a big piece to their championship hopes. The Liberty acquired the 2021 MVP as part of a three-team deal with the Connecticut Sun and Dallas Wings, the teams announced yesterday. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
#By BRENT STUBBS
#Senior Sports Reporter
#It’s now official. After spending the past seven seasons in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) with the Connecticut Sun, the 29-year-old Grand Bahamian native Jonquel ‘JJ’ Jones has packed her bags and is now with the New York Liberty.
#Yesterday, the four-time All-Star, who had requested the trade, left one more year on her contract with the Sun, coached by Curt Miller, to join the Liberty under coach Stephanie White.
#It came in a three-team deal that shook up the WNBA, sending Rebecca Allen and Natasha Howard from New York to Connecticut and the Dallas Wings respectively.
#The Wings also received the rights to Crystal Dangerfield of the Liberty and sent Kayla Thornton to New York as well as Tyasha Harris to Connecticut.
#Additionally, the deal would allow the Sun to pick up the Liberty’s No.6 pick in the 2023 WNBA draft.
#It’s a deal that New York’s general manager Jonathan Kolb said fits right into their scheme of things.
#This was the second trade in the career of Jones, whose first came after she was drafted by the Los Angeles Sparks as the sixth pick overall in the first round of the WNBA draft in 2016 in exchange for Chelsea Gray and two draft picks in 2026.
#“Adding Jonquel and Kayla to our roster in the prime of their careers was a can’t-miss opportunity to bolster our frontcourt on both ends of the floor,” said Kolb in a statement. “JJ brings an established MVP skill set, and Kayla possesses a rare combination of defensive physicality and offensive spacing. We can’t wait to welcome them to the Liberty family and get to work on pursuing our championship goals.”
#Jones, at 6-foot, 6-inches, is a forward/centre, who averaged 14.6 points, 8,6 rebounds and 1.2 block shots per game this season. She helped Connecticut to a second WNBA Finals berth in four seasons, won the MVP title and was the Most Improved Player in 2027 and the Sixth Woman of the Year in 2018.
#Her departure from the Sun leaves a void, but Connecticut’s general manager Darius Taylor wished her all the best as she moves on.
#“Jonquel has been an integral part of the Connecticut Sun’s growth over the last seven years, and we truly appreciate everything she has given to this franchise,” Taylor said in a statement. “Unfortunately, JJ’s trade was a decision that both parties decided was best. We wish her the best in her future endeavours.”
#As she moves on, Jones will become just the third player in WNBA history to win the WNBA MVP and then play for a new team two seasons later.
#The others are Elena Delle Donne, who in 2015 won the MVP with the Chicago Sky and then was traded to the Washington Mystics in 2017 and Tina Charles, the 2012 MVP with the Sun, who was traded to Liberty in 2014, the same path that Jones is taking.
#Jones, who was the first player in WNBA history to win the MVP, Sixth Woman of the Year and the WNBA Most Improved Player awards, is expected to suit up with the Liberty when they open the WNBA 2023 regular season against Washington on Friday, May 19.