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After a few slow days in the 2023 WNBA offseason, the action has picked back up again thanks to the Chicago Sky, Dallas Wings,  New York Liberty and Phoenix Mercury, who have agreed to a blockbuster four-team trade involving four players and seven draft picks.  

In the headline-stealing aspects of the transaction, the Sky have acquired Marina Mabrey from the Wings, while the Wings got Diamond DeShields from the Mercury, two first-round picks and a pick swap from the Sky. The Liberty, for their part, were involved on a more periphery level. 

"Diamond DeShields has established herself as one of the premier wing players in the WNBA," Dallas Wings president Greg Bibb said in a press release. "Her size, athleticism, ability to get to the rim and defensive acumen will make us a better basketball team. She also brings a wealth of playoff experience and a WNBA Championship with her to Dallas that will ultimately aid us in our continued pursuit of a championship of our own."

With everything now official, let's grade the trade:

Sky receive

  • Marina Mabrey (via Wings)
  • 2024 second-round pick (via Mercury)

The Sky's 2022 campaign ended in devastating fashion with a fourth-quarter collapse against the Connecticut Sky in Game 5 of the semifinals. That turned out to be just the beginning of their problems, as they've now lost Candace Parker, Courtney Vandersloot, Azura Stevens, Allie Quigley and Emma Meesseman in free agency. 

While pivoting to a rebuild would be a natural reaction to such circumstances, the Sky have instead tried to retool the roster on the fly to remain competitive. They've brought in Isabelle Harrison, Courtney Williams and Elizabeth Williams in free agency, and have now added Mabrey via trade -- albeit at a steep price.

A second-round pick in the 2019 WNBA Draft, Mabrey impressed in the bubble and has proved that was no fluke with strong play in each of the past two seasons. Last summer, she registered career-highs with 13.6 points and 3.7 assists per game, and also shot 35.1 percent from 3-point land. Her ability to create shots off the dribble is a valuable skill, particularly in a league where it's often in short supply, and she will help replace some of the offensive output the Sky lost in the offseason. 

But while Mabrey can definitely play, two first-round picks, a first-round pick swap, two second-round picks and a third-round pick is a whole lot to give up for someone who has never even made an All-Star Game. Surrendering all of their 2024 picks ahead of what could be a historic draft class seems especially short-sighted. 

The Sky will be better next season with Mabrey, but how much so? Even if they make the playoffs, they will not be competing with the Liberty or Las Vegas Aces. This is the type of package you give up for a star who can put you over the top, not for a solid starter who will help you remain competitive. It's a low-upside, high-risk move that the Sky may come to rue down the line. 

Grade: D

Wings receive

  • Diamond DeShields (via Mercury)
  • 2023 first-round pick (via Sky)
  • 2024 first-round pick (via Sky)
  • 2025 first-round pick swap (via Sky)

The Wings have been wheeling and dealing all winter long. First, they jumped into the three-team Jonquel Jones blockbuster and came away with Natasha Howard and Crystal Dangerfield. Then they sent Allisha Gray to the Atlanta Dream in exchange for two first-round picks in 2023 and 2025. Now, in addition to re-signing Teaira McCowan in free agency, they've pulled off another big trade, this one to acquire Diamond DeShields from the Mercury and two first-round picks and a pick swap from the Sky. 

While Mabrey was second in scoring and first in assists on the team last season, this is a great trade for the Wings. DeShields is not as good of an outside shooter or playmaker, and in fact, was horribly inefficient for the Mercury last season when she shot 38.8 percent from the field and averaged 13.1 points on 12.2 shots per game. Last season's Mercury situation was about as disjointed and emotionally taxing as possible, however, and the Wings will be banking on DeShields' talent in an environment where she doesn't have to do as much playing alongside Arike Ogunbowale. In any case, DeShields will replace some of Mabrey's shot-creation ability.

While Mabrey is a better overall player than DeShields, she was likely agitating to leave in restricted free agency. Instead of re-signing an unhappy player or letting her walk for nothing, the Wings got a replacement on the wing and added all sorts of draft capital in the process. The 2024 first-round pick they got from the Sky, in particular, could wind up being extremely valuable. 

While the Wings have been all over the place at times over the past few years, this is a great piece of business. 

Grade: A

Mercury receive

  • Michaela Onyenwere (via Liberty)
  • 2024 third-round pick (via Sky)
  • 2025 second-round pick (via Sky)

While she may bounce back in a new situation, it's completely understandable that the Mercury wanted to get out of the Diamond DeShields business after last season. They were also likely looking to save some money with the impending returns of Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi. 

Onyenwere won Rookie of the Year in 2021 largely by default but struggled in a much smaller role last season for the Liberty, during which she averaged 4.7 points and 2.1 rebounds while shooting 37.7 percent from the field and 30 percent from 3-point land. In theory, she gives the Mercury more of a physical presence on the wing and won't need the ball in her hands, but it remains to be seen how much she'll actually play. 

The Mercury will hope they can turn her into a solid role player, but the bigger aspect of this trade for them is the 2025 first-round pick swap they surrendered to the Liberty. Unless New York's superteam suddenly falls apart, the Liberty are almost guaranteed to exercise that swap. The Mercury, meanwhile, have far more uncertain times ahead and that could end up being a valuable pick. They will have to hope they remain competitive enough through the 2024 season that they just end up moving back a few slots in the 2025 draft rather than falling out of the lottery. 

Grade: C

Liberty receive

  • Rights to Leonie Fiebich (via Sky)
  • 2024 second-round pick (via Sky)
  • 2025 first-round pick swap (via Mercury)

Jumping into a four-team blockbuster barely even registers for the Liberty after the winter they've had. Over the last month, they've added Jonquel Jones, Breanna Stewart and Courtney Vandersloot, and are now the betting favorite to win the 2023 WNBA title, per Caesars Sportsbook. 

This is a rather minor piece of business, but it could end up being a highly lucrative one down the line. Michaela Onyenwere was not going to play a meaningful part in their rotation this season, and now the Liberty have swap rights to the Mercury's 2025 first-round pick. They will almost certainly exercise those rights, and there's a chance that could be a lottery pick. Regardless, given where the two teams are, they should, at the very least, move up a few spots in what could be a terrific draft. 

Grade: A