What a most interesting day in the history of the Connecticut Sun. Some thoughts:
* I don’t believe I have ever seen a relationship between a star player and a team end as acrimoniously as what went down the last two weeks with Tina Charles and the Sun. The Sun is very, very angry with the way Charles conducted herself, last year as a player and this year as a restricted free agent. They believe she did not give good effort on many occasions, was not a leader and, perhaps worst of all. misled them about her intention to play for them this season. Remember. this is a team who tried to build around a former rookie of the year and MVP. That is one helluva thing to say, She gets her chance to answer back this afternoon in a teleconference at 2:30. That should be very interesting.
* If San Antonio had taken Alyssa Thomas with the No. 3 pick in the first round, the Sun would have had New York take Notre Dame’s Kayla McBride to close out the Charles deal.
* I realize this is a provincial comment, but I think the WNBA learned a great marketing lesson Monday by holding its draft in an arena filled by people who actually love the game. If next year’s draft is held at ESPN again, I will be very disappointed.
* Here is the roster check: Katie Douglas, Kelsey Bone, Alex Bentley, Alyssa Thomas and Chiney Ogwumike join Renee Montgomery, Kalana Greene, Allie Hightower, Kelsey Griffin, Kelly Faris, Kayla Pedersen and Sydney Carter. Third-round pick DeNeesha Stallworth comes to camp with free agents Kelley Cain and Keisha Hampton.There is room for only 12. Tan White will not be resigned. Alba Torrens is not coming (again) from Spain. You figure it out.
* It is clear that the immediate future of this franchise rests in the hands of Anne Donovan, who has won a championship in the WNBA and gold with the 2008 Olympic team. It is also clear there are those who still believe that management acted too hastily to fire Mike Thibault after the Eastern Conference final loss in 2012. And the only way to prove the doubters wrong is to win with the new players. And now Anne has them – a lot of them.
* It is no secret that many of last year’s players, perhaps not fond of change, were not happy with the length of Donovan’s practices and the impact it had on their health. Perhaps that led to what happened later in the season, veterans like Kara Lawson and Charles missing long stretches with injuries and eventually ending their seasons long before the tape. It’s no coincidence that both Lawson and Charles asked to be traded, is it? It was one of the reasons that locker room chemistry fell apart. Donovan is a smart, experienced coach. If she figures this is a problem, she will change. If she doesn’t, it will not.
* Let’s face it folks, there are a number of players who simply do not want to spend their summers living in Uncasville or New London or Groton. These are young women who want more in life than professional basketball careers. If you were 26 and single, with professional leverage, would you rather spend the summer in New York, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Washington, Chicago or Uncasville. If a star player feels empowered enough to force a trade out of the town, they apparently will do what they can to make it happen.