Sparks acquire veteran guard Jasmine Thomas in trade with Sun

Los Angeles Sparks guard Brittney Sykes (15) defends against Connecticut Sun guard Jasmine Thomas (5) during the first half of WNBA basketball game Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
Sun guard Jasmine Thomas looks to pass while defended by Sparks guard Brittney Sykes during a game in 2021. (Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

The Sparks, and its new leadership, began the offseason rebuild of the roster by acquiring veteran guard Jasmine Thomas on Monday in a multiple-player trade with the Connecticut Sun.

Thomas, a 12-year veteran who played seven seasons with the Sun under new Sparks coach Curt Miller, was acquired along with the 10th overall selection in the 2023 WNBA draft. The Sparks sent center Olivia Nelson-Ododa, forward Jasmine Walker and the reserved rights to guard Kianna Smith to the Sun.

“The trade with Connecticut puts us in a great position going into free agency as we were able to secure a veteran point guard and add a first-round pick,” said Karen Bryant, the Sparks' general manager and chief administrative officer, in a statement released by the team. “We are grateful for the time that we had with Olivia, Jasmine and Kianna and thank them for their contributions to the Sparks. We wish them all the best as they continue to grow in this league.”

Thomas has career averages 9.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.1 steals. The former Duke star was selected 12th overall in the 2011 draft by the Seattle Storm before being traded to the Washington Mystics. After playing two seasons with the Mystics and two more with the Atlanta Dream, Thomas was traded to Connecticut in 2015.

In her eight seasons with the Sun, seven of them under Miller, Thomas averaged 11.2 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.3 steals, setting the franchise record for career assists with 994. Thomas, who was an All-Star in 2017, earned All-Defensive first team from 2017-19 and second team in 2016 and 2021.

“I have had the pleasure of coaching Jasmine for my entire professional head coaching career and know she will be an incredible addition to this team and the culture we are building in LA,” Miller said in the team's news release. “Her knowledge of the game and her ability to lead a team both on the offensive and defensive ends of the floor is something that will be invaluable to us.”

The Sparks now own the 10th, 14th and 26th overall picks in the 2023 draft.

Smith and Nelson-Ododa were drafted 16th and 19th overall by the Sparks in the 2022 draft, while Walker was the seventh overall pick in the 2021 draft.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.