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Shocking trade: Chicago Sky send franchise legend Kahleah Copper to Phoenix Mercury, officially starting rebuild

Stephen PridGeon-Garner Avatar
February 6, 2024

The Chicago Sky made some stunning news on Tuesday morning, trading 2021 Finals MVP Kahleah Copper to the Phoenix Mercury and kicking off a franchise rebuild.

Forward Morgan Bertsch was also included in the deal.

In exchange, the Sky will receive the Mercury’s 2024 first-round pick (No. 3 overall), their 2026 first-round pick, two second-round picks in next year’s draft, F Brianna Turner and F Michaela Onyenwere.

Almost five months following signing Copper to an extension through 2025 — with her also sitting next to chairman Nadia Rawlinson four months ago as they welcomed in new head coach Teresa Weatherspoon — the tides have swiftly shifted into unfavorable directions for the Sky’s immediate future.

Unfortunately, this is not an unfamiliar feeling, as it compounds in a compilation of mishaps where they Sky have left more to be desired, from those on the roster (players) and staff (coach).

Per CHGO sources, the failure of execution in free agency was a main culprit in why Copper was traded to Phoenix.

Naturally, and somewhat cyclically aligned with things rumored to have played a part in stars of the franchise’s past also choosing elsewhere, the franchise’s less-than-stellar amenities played a factor in them not being able to attract top-tier free agents.

It will only become harder to compete as the franchise’s present-day facilities aren’t well-regarded by potential free agent.

That’s a tough pill to swallow, but also hard to fully fathom for a team located in the country’s third-largest market.

The present is lacking, but clarity and direction, as well as execution of a plan regarding the process for the Sky to find a location and take steps towards building facilities of their own, leaves an air of ambiguity that is counterproductive.

Player empowerment has become a priority in the league in its evolution, and there is no clearer sign of players moving in alignment with that mindset than in the past two years of the free agency period.

They simply desire what they deserve, and are settling less and less for anything that’s subpar.

Now stocked with pick compensation to facilitate toward the future, the Kahleah Copper domino falling serves as the most recent harsh reminder of the importance of intentional investment in your franchise’s facilities.

Ownership has been (again) called to task.

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