Something that cannot be understated about today's three team blockbuster trade between the Minnesota Lynx, New York Liberty and Tulsa Shock is that at least one free agent wanted to play in the WNBA's newest locale.
"I'm so excited to play in Tulsa," Candice Wiggins said in a Shock release. "I want to thank the city of Minneapolis for all it's given me. I want to thank the coaches, the players, the fans and people of Minnesota for their support. Tulsa is a warm place and I have always loved playing in the BOK Center. I'm excited be apart of this organization. I want to thank Tulsa for this golden opportunity for me to bring my talent to this righteous city."
Yet in addition to giving the Shock some enthusiasm about being in Tulsa, Wiggins' talent will fill a need right away on the court. even if she won't single-handedly change the beleaguered franchise's fortunes.
Tulsa Shock trades Deanna Nolan, 15th pick, and 27th pick for Nicole Powell, Candice Wiggins, 29th pick in 2013 draft
With the Shock losing both Ivory Latta and Temeka Johnson this offsesaon, they needed ball handling help even if they use the third pick in the draft on Notre Dame guard Skylar Diggins as is widely assumed.
Wiggins wasn't the most efficient ball handler last season (-2.20), but she creates assists more often than either Amber Holt (0.58 PPR) or Riquna Williams (-0.14 PPR) and proved herself a capable option behind Lynx point guard Lindsay Whalen last year. Moreover, Wiggins shot 39.7% from the 3-point line, which will help the Shock remain among the league's top teams from beyond the arc (38% in 2012, 3rd in the WNBA). And adding Nicole Powell won't exactly hurt the 3-point cause either: Powell shot 38.8% from long range herself last season.
The issue with both Powell and Wiggins is that neither has been a particularly high usage player in their previous homes, with Powell's usage rate on a steady decline since hitting a career-high in Sacramento back in 2009.
Nevertheless, whatever uncertainty there is about how much Powell and Wiggins contribute in Tulsa is sort of irrelevant: they're definitely going to contribute more than either a player who was not going to play for them and a pair of draft picks outside of the first round. And when you consider the number of 3-point shooters they'll have to put around post players Elizabeth Cambage and Tiffany Jackson-Jones, this team is certainly looking a lot more competitive now.
New York trades Janel McCarville, Nicole Powell and 29th pick for Deanna Nolan, 15th pick, and 27th pick
This is clearly a risk for the Liberty given some measure of uncertainty about when Nolan will actually return to the WNBA, but one that could really work out well if Nolan arrives and performs anything near the ball handling she gave Detroit when she was last in the league.
Part of what made Detroit so potent with Nolan and Katie Smith is that either could capably handle and distribute the ball. Nolan's pure point rating of 0.38 back in 2009 was solid for any perimeter player and when you combine that with the recently-signed Smith, Cappie Pondexter, and Leilani Mitchell, you have a very strong backcourt rotation. Even if not, there's a distinct possibility that a "true" point guard would be available for New York to draft at #15 to help fill a ball handling need.
It's probably impossible to evaluate this trade for the Liberty until Nolan actually takes the court, but when she does it's very likely that her skill set will offset the loss of Powell's 3-point shooting.
Minnesota trades Candice Wiggins for Janel McCarville for a 2014 Tulsa Shock second round pick
People's reaction to McCarville hasn't been entirely positive, but - as with everything with the Lynx - the value of this trade is in her fit with their system.
McCarville's wasn't particularly efficiency as a distributor (-3.79) when she last played in the league, but among interior players that's actually quite strong. And if you're a team that intends to run an offense through the high post, McCarville isn't a bad option.
In the event that Taj McWilliams-Franklin retires - as many people probably expect - McCarville won't step in and fill that defensive role but can at least help them offensively.
Obviously Minnesota has a need for a backup ball handler now, but they still own the 12th and 14th picks in the 2013 draft and it's not exactly impossible to imagine them finding someone to fill that role off the bench with one of those two picks.
For more on each of these teams visit their respective offseason storystreams: