The Sparks have added another pick to their haul in Thursday’s WNBA draft.
The team acquired the no. 7 pick from the Dallas Wings as well as Chicago’s 2022 second-round pick for L.A.’s 2022 first-rounder. This gives the Sparks two first-rounders in tomorrow’s draft, no. 7 and their original no. 10 pick.
At first blush, it’s an odd move to get an extra selection in a draft that has been pegged as one of the weaker ones. But that designation mostly applies to the top of the draft, which isn’t where the Sparks have added a pick. L.A. is expected to be targeting a wing in the first round, and there is a glut of wings (Michaela Onyenwere, Chelsea Dungee, and Dijonai Carrington, among others) who are not projected to last until no. 10, so the Sparks can now acquire a preferred player at their position of need.
There is some risk to moving next year’s pick, since the Sparks will are expected to pick in the top half of the 2022 draft given their departures in free agency. If L.A. misses the playoffs altogether, the pick would end up in the top four. The team is getting an extra second-rounder to make that gamble, but it’s an uncertain proposition.
However, this trade appears to be a calculation that getting the player the Sparks want now will help them avoid the worst-case scenario in 2021. The forward position is the weakest on the Los Angeles roster, and this is a way for the Sparks to address that limitation.
This is the third trade that the Sparks have made with the Wings in the last year. They previously sent Marina Mabrey to Dallas for a 2021 second-round pick and then traded that pick to the Wings later in the offseason for Kristine Anigwe and a third-rounder. Anigwe is still on the Sparks roster.