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Mystics make huge trade to acquire former WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne

Mystics make huge trade to acquire former WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne

Elena Delle Donne, perhaps the WNBA's biggest star, now plays for the Washington Mystics. The team traded center Stefanie Dolson, guard Kahleah Copper and the second overall pick in this year's draft to aquire the 2015 MVP from the Chicago Sky. 

Donne is a 6-5 forward and guard who was drafted by Chicago in 2014. A Delaware native, the move to the Mystics would bring her considerably closer to home and her older sister, who is disabled. 

“I’m really excited about this next chapter in my career with the Mystics,” Delle Donne said in a press release by the team. “Coach Thibault, Mr. Leonsis and Ms. Johnson have built a strong team that is ready to make a significant impact in the league and I’m thrilled to be a part of it."

She averaged a career-high 23.4 points per game to ago alone with 8.4 rebounds and 2 blocks in 2015. Her numbers dipped only slightly (21.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.5 blocks) in 2016, but Delle Donne indicated as her restricted free agency approached that she'd prefer a new team. 

Trades like this almost never happen in the WNBA, but Delle Donne told VICE Sports in December that she'd be willing to sit out to force the issue. 

Mystics coach Mike Thubault was thrilled at the move:

Clearly, this is one of the biggest moves in the history of this organization. In only four years, Elena has established herself as one of the premier players in the world, as evidenced by her MVP season two years ago. Her impact on and off the court will be invaluable. Her pure basketball talents as a scorer, passer, rebounder, and shot-blocker will raise the level of effectiveness of all her teammates, and those talented teammates will take a lot of the day- to-day pressure off of her as well. She joins a core group that is just entering the best years of their careers and is making a commitment to helping the Mystics become one of the elite organizations in the WNBA.

In addition to her contributions to the WNBA, Delle Donne has also been a staple of USA Basketball, which won a gold medal during the Rio Olympics in 2016. 

She comes to Washington in the prime of her career at only 27 years old. 

RELATED: Mystics lock up All-Star Meesseman through 2019

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Celtics and Sixers may go relatively unchanged this offseason, as stars have gone elsewhere

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Celtics and Sixers may go relatively unchanged this offseason, as stars have gone elsewhere

The 2018 NBA offseason in just three weeks has become one of the wildest summers in the league's history between LeBron James signing with the Lakers, and all the characters that followed him, to DeMarcus Cousins surprising everyone to sign with the Golden State Warriors, to Kawhi Leonard getting traded to the Raptors.

As crazy as it all has been, two teams in the Eastern Conference stand out for so far doing very little, either by choice or circumstance. The Celtics and Sixers, the two teams most see as the favorites in the East, appear at least so far to be running it back with the same group of players.

This appears to be the Celtics' intention. After overhauling their roster last summer, they clearly see an opportunity to take a step forward as-is. Boston was one win away from the NBA Finals and will return Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving from injury. With James gone to the West, they can improve significanly just by keeping it all together.

Boston re-signed Marcus Smart and Aron Baynes. Their biggest addition this summer so far has been their first round pick, Robert Williams.

The Sixers, unlike the Celtics, didn't appear to plan on doing it this way. They wanted James and missed out. They reportedly had interest in Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, but both went elsewhere. There are no stars left to sign in free agency and the trade market may be drying up.

Philly made some minor moves like trades for Wilson Chandler and Mike Muscala. They may also have a deal for Kyle Korver in the works. They also had two first round picks in Zhaire Smith and Landry Shamet.

There's a chance the Sixers got better than people think, as many of the moves they made seem smart. But they didn't reel in a big fish and will probably come back for the 2018-19 season with a team very similar to the one that made the second round of the playoffs this spring.

The fact the Celtics and Sixers may stand pat is probably a good thing for the rest of the East. Both teams may improve naturally if they are healthier and if their young players continue to ascend. But neither made a game-changing addition, one that would solidify either as an unstoppable superteam in the conference. 

The West is overloaded with title contenders and All-NBA players. The East, meanwhile, is much more open and it may end up staying that way mainly because Boston and Philly have been quiet so far this summer.

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Wizards set introductory press conference for Dwight Howard

Wizards set introductory press conference for Dwight Howard

Wizards team president Ernie Grunfeld has stayed relatively busy this summer crafting his new-look lineup for the 2018-19 season. 

One of the team's key additions, Dwight Howard, is set to be introduced as a member of the Wizards on Monday. 

NBC Sports Washington will air the introductory press conference live at 1 p.m. while also streaming it online.  

Ernie Grunfeld and head coach Scott Brooks are both expected to be in attendance. 

The 32-year-old big man is coming off a 2017-18 season with the Charlotte Hornets in which he averaged 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. 

Since leaving the Orlando Magic after eight seasons in 2011, Howard has played for four different teams in the last six years. 

Howard is an eight-time all-star and a three-time defensive player of the year. 

 

RELATED LINKS: 

John Wall's take on Dwight Howard 

Wizards make Dwight Howard free agent signing official 

By the numbers: Is new Wizards center Dwight Howard still in his NBA prime?