NEW YORK (AP) — Bria Hartley made a replica New York Liberty jersey when she was 12 after attending one of their games at Madison Square Garden.
Now the New York native will get to put on a real one after being traded with Kia Vaughn to the Liberty on Monday as part of a three-way deal with Washington and Seattle.
“My last name on the back,” Hartley said of the jersey, which was No. 14. “I love the culture around the New York Liberty and am excited to be coming closer to home.”
The Liberty sent Carolyn Swords to the Storm, who sent their No. 6 pick in the WNBA draft to the Mystics. Seattle and Washington also swapped second round picks in this year’s draft.
Hartley has played for Washington after she was traded to the Mystics from Seattle on draft day in 2014. She’s averaged 7.1 points in her three-year career. Hartley, who is from Long Island, New York, just gave birth to her first child earlier this month.
“It’s good to have the family a lot closer, they came to D.C. a lot anyway. It’s nice it’s not a 4-hour drive anymore, they can come a lot more often,” Hartley said.
Hartley said she’ll be physically ready to go once the season starts after giving birth to her son, Bryson.
“Being pregnant takes a lot out of you and I’m rebuilding my muscle form, working on my game,” said Hartley, who is reunited with former UConn teammate Kiah Stokes.
Vaughn, who also is from New York, was drafted eighth by New York in 2009 and played for the Liberty for four seasons before heading to Washington in 2013.
“I am so thankful for my time with Coach T and the Mystics — and now to be heading home to New York, to play at the Garden alongside so many women whose basketball heritages are so intertwined with mine — it’s really just a dream come true,” Vaughn said. “It’s full circle, back to my roots and I feel so blessed to have the opportunity.”
She earned the league’s most improved player award in 2011.
“This was a tough decision to make — Carolyn has been a great teammate and an exemplary member of the New York Liberty; she will do well for Seattle, and we wish her all of the best,” Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer said. “Bria Hartley has enjoyed a great deal of success as a champion on a big stage at UConn, and will enhance our guard strength. Kia Vaughn will bring toughness and experience to our front court, and she is a consummate professional basketball player.”
The move clears salary cap space for Washington to trade for Elena Delle Donne. She’s a restricted free agent with the Chicago Sky, but a deal is in the works to send her to Washington, according to two people familiar with the situation. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal hasn’t been finalized yet.
“We have some other things we know we’re going to do down the road whether it be in the next few days or next week or so,” Washington coach and general manager Mike Thibault said. “The No. 1 was salary cap issues and protected contract issues and it has something to do with what we’re doing. The sixth pick is a valuable piece, whether we use it ourselves or something else down the road.”
Both Vaughn and Hartley were in the final year of their contracts.
“Right now with the two and the six (pick) we have some things we can do,” Thibault said. “It clears up some of the things on the roster for us. Both players have been a good part of what we’re doing. When we’re done with all of what we’re trying to do, you can’t have 13 players on your team. You can’t be over the salary cap. All of that factors in.”
Seattle gains a solid veteran post player in Swords.
“We are thrilled to add Carolyn Swords to our roster,” said Storm president and general manager Alisha Valavanis. “One of our objectives this offseason and free agency period was to add another post with length and size around the rim. Carolyn brings a different defensive look and shot-blocking presence.”
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