Lynx acquire Sylvia Fowles in major three-team trade, Erika de Souza goes to Chicago

Sylvia Fowles. Photo © Mark W. Sutton, all rights reserved.
Sylvia Fowles. Photo © Mark W. Sutton, all rights reserved.

The Minnesota Lynx acquired center Sylvia Fowles along with Chicago’s 2016 second round draft pick in a three-team deal that sends Damiris Dantas, Reshanda Gray and its 2016 first round pick to the Atlanta Dream. As part of the deal, Atlanta sends Erika de Souza to Chicago. Fowles will begin practicing with the Lynx on Tuesday, followed by a press conference introducing the center to Minnesota.

“We’re excited to welcome Sylvia to the Minnesota Lynx organization,” said executive vice president Roger Griffith. “She’s a proven, defensive All-Star player and we expect her to step in and be a great leader on and off the court. She’s been one of the elite centers in the WNBA and will be a key addition to our championship caliber roster.”

Originally drafted second overall in the 2008 WNBA Draft by the Chicago Sky, Fowles has averaged 15.7 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in 186 career regular season WNBA games (177 starts), all with Chicago. She was named a WNBA All-Star in 2009, 2011 and 2013 and is a two-time WNBA Defensive Player of the year (2011, 2013). Fowles is a two-time All-WNBA First Team selection (2010, 2013), as well as a four time All-WNBA Defensive First Team selection (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013).

“Sylvia was one of the founding blocks of our organization,” said Chatman. “Speaking on behalf of not just myself and the staff, but also the fans, I am thankful for the hard work and passion she played with in a Chicago Sky uniform and wish her continued success in her career.”

The 6’6 center averaged 13.4 points and 10.2 rebounds per game to help the Chicago Sky to a 15-19 record and the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals. She played in just 20 games in 2014 after being sidelined to start the season due to hip injury.

Fowles will be the fifth Olympian on the Minnesota Lynx roster, joining Seimone Augustus, Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen. and Asjha Jones.

De Souza, now in her 10th WNBA season, started in all 17 games for the Dream during the first half of the 2015 season averaging 8.6 points and 7.5 rebounds per game while maintaining a 45.9% field goal percentage. In her WNBA career, the 6-foot-5 center has played in 254 regular season games, for three teams (Los Angeles, Connecticut, Atlanta).  She is Atlanta’s current all-time leader in rebounds (1, 784), double-doubles (68), and games played (211).

“Erika brings veteran leadership, a versatile skill-set and defensive intensity that will complement our existing core,” said Sky Head Coach and General Manager Pokey Chatman. “Her presence in the paint will be extremely valuable as we enter the second half of the season.”

Dantas, originally drafted by Minnesota with the 12 overall pick in the 2012 WNBA Draft, heads to Atlanta after averaging 5.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game in her two seasons with Minnesota.

“Damiris Dantas is an emerging young player who has earned a place in this league,” Atlanta Dream head coach Michael Cooper said. She adds another skill player to our front line and can also step out and hit the jumper. She brings youth to our roster which is what we need.”

Gray heads to Atlanta having played in 10 games for the Lynx averaging 0.6 points and 1.0 rebounds in her rookie season.

“Reshanda Gray is a very good young player in this league,” Cooper said. “She is a tough player who competes on the boards at both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor. She is versatile and can play and guard a number of different positions. She will also add to the overall skill and youthfulness on our roster and adds a lot of skill and physicality to the four-spot.”

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