Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Trade winds

It was pretty evident that Mike Thibault wrestled with trading Lindsay Whalen even if it was the only way the Connecticut Sun were going to move up to the No. 1 spot to get Tina Charles.

His apprehension is understandable. Whalen is as tough a competitor as you will ever meet, a true gamer who played through injuries that would have sidelined many of her peers and somebody not afraid to take and make the big shot down the stretch.

She will be missed in the locker room, by the fans and by the media. That being said, I think adding Renee Montgomery and Tina Charles will make them a better team than if they kept Whalen and whoever they would have drafted with the second overall pick.

Thibault appeared to be a bit defensive at times in his remarks at the press conference. He addressed the UConn issue and also chatter that the trade was made so the Sun would lose enough to have a shot at drafting Maya Moore next season which obviously burns him up that anybody would think the team would intentionally lose games. I personally thought those remarks were unnecessary since the people who cover the team know that he is not wired that way. As competitive as Whalen is, Thibault would be able to match her in that department. Here are his comments regarding having UConn players:

"It always comes up, the subject of UConn players. Should we have more, should we have less. I don't think about it on a daily basis, I think we are aware of it because we play in a state where there is great college basketball but the fact of the matter is that as a coach, you are supposed to pick the best players out there to help your team win, you are supposed to pick them in the draft, you are supposed to trade for them to get the best players. I don't care if they are from Mars. But the one clear thing to me is that UConn's had the best players, that's not debatable. So the idea that we are getting the UConn players per se is ludicruos. Does it help? Yes. But that's not why you do a trade, you try to become the best team. They've won championships because they'd had great players, it is that simple and that is how you win on our league, you get great players who understand how to play together, be a great team, share the basketball. That is what we are trying to do."

That being said, I think Montgomery and Charles help the Sun regardless of which school they attended or attend. Montgomery will have some turnover issues but she can score and will be asked to do more of it in Connecticut than if she remained in Minnesota. Charles, to me, is head and shoulders ahead of anybody else in this draft.

More help could be on the way. Thibault said the Sun can go after at least one high-priced free agent. I found one comment pretty interesting today. When the subject of Montgomery being given No. 21 because No. 20 was not available, there was a comment that she can't have No. 20 because two others have worn it and they have been in the league longer. OK, Tan White wears No. 20 but the only other new addition to the team is DeMya Walker, who has been given No. 22. Then looking at the WNBA rosters, the only free agent who wore No. 20 is Kara Lawson. Add that with Thibault's comment that "if we can get her a co-pilot which we are hoping to do in the next week or two, it will be perfect" makes it seem like landing Lawson will be a priority when the free agent period begins with teams able to speak to free agents as of Friday.

Montgomery was absolute giddy at being back in Connecticut and especially the possibility to playing with Charles again.

"So many things were running through my mind. The first people I called were my snook (mom) and diddy (dad) and you would have thought we won the lottery. They were like 'no way, are you serious?'"

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