The Los Angeles Sparks have made a move for an international player by picking up French post player Sandrine Gruda from the Connecticut Sun. Gruda has not been in the WNBA since 2010, but she has been a force for UMMC Ekaterinburg, which also is home to Sparks superstar and reigning MVP Candace Parker. She's also UMMC's leading scorer, so that's gotta mean something considering that she's on the same team as Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi, in addition to the aforementioned Parker.
In the Sparks' press release, here is what Sparks Executive Vice President and General Manager Penny Toler had to say about the deal:
I am thrilled about Sandrine joining the Sparks family," said Toler. "She is a powerful player who will not only add scoring power to our already solid offensive game, but will also bring in a solid defensive presence to dominate the boards alongside Nneka [Ogwumike], Candace [Parker] and Jantel [Lavender].
And here's Gruda's take:
I am so happy to be with the Sparks and thankful to be back in the WNBA. I can’t wait to get to Los Angeles and wear the jersey I’ve been wanting to wear since I was a young girl. I am grateful that I get to continue playing with Candace, since I’m already with her here in Russia. It’s going to be a great season and I’m looking forward to being part of the Los Angeles Sparks. It’s a dream come true!
With Gruda now in the mix for L.A., where she will play alongside Parker, Ogwumike and Lavender, that pretty much sets the low post rotation for the Sparks at this point, unless they intend on trading Ogwumike and/or Lavender in the coming weeks. At least that's how I see it.
Meanwhile, the Sun's press release didn't sound quite as rosy. Here is what General Manager Chris Sienko had to say:
Sandrine has not played for the Sun since 2010. At a certain point, we owe it to our fans to bring players to Connecticut who want to be here and contribute to a championship each year.
Considering that Connecticut is looking to rebuild from last year's 10-24 campaign, I think the organization did get value from a player who had no interest in playing for them, even when the team was playoff bound in 2011 and 2012.
Still, there's a bigger question for the Sun right now. Why isn't Tina Charles re-signed just yet? And at some point, if she's not re-signed, well, you'd have to think that she may be dealt in a "sign and trade"-type deal pretty soon. Charles is a restricted free agent, and the Sun can match any offer sheet she signs, but if she doesn't want to play there, that's just a situation that the organization doesn't want to be in for any lengthy period of time.
So, what do you think of the trade? And who do you think the Sun may want to pick up at the 11th spot? Let us know in the comments below!
(* * *)
Update at 5:25 p.m. ET: H/T to Shades for putting this out in a FanShot earlier.