Holdsclaw, looking for fresh start, traded to Los Angeles
WASHINGTON -- After ending her season early last year because of depression, Chamique Holdsclaw received a fresh start Monday when she was traded from the Washington Mystics to the Los Angeles Sparks.
In exchange for the three-time WNBA All-Star, the Mystics received forward DeLisha Milton-Jones and the 13th overall pick in this year's draft.
``I want to express my deep appreciation and gratitude to the Washington Mystics fans for their unwavering support, kindness and loyalty during my six years with the team -- especially during the tough times of this past season,'' Holdsclaw said in a statement released by the Mystics. ``I know that I greatly benefited from my experiences in Washington which will help me both personally and professionally as I move on.''
Holdsclaw was the WNBA's No. 1 overall pick in 1999 after leading Tennessee to three straight NCAA titles. She averaged 18.3 points and 9.0 rebounds in six seasons with the Mystics.
``Chamique is no doubt a great athlete and wonderful person,'' Sparks president Johnny Buss said. ``She will fit perfectly within the Sparks and Lakers family of great players.''
Holdsclaw was second in the league in scoring when she failed to show up for a game against Charlotte on July 24 because of an unspecified medical condition. She played in the next game, then missed the rest of the season. She also opted out of the U.S. national team for the Athens Olympics and missed the WNBA All-Star game.
The Mystics went on an unexpected playoff run in Holdsclaw's absence, winning five of their last six regular-season games before losing to Connecticut in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Holdsclaw's condition remained a mystery until she revealed it in an interview with The Washington Post in late October. She spent the WNBA offseason playing in Spain.
``Obviously, Chamique went through a very trying time personally last season, and we have attempted to support her in every way possible,'' Washington Sports and Entertainment president Susan O'Malley said. ``When she asked us to consider trading her for a fresh start, we felt it was best for everyone to honor that request.''
Milton-Jones averaged 9.8 points and 4.7 rebounds over 19 games for the Sparks before tearing an ACL in her knee in July. She has recovered quickly and has been playing in South Korea and Spain during the offseason.
``DeLisha brings championship experience to our roster and will provide leadership as we look to improve on last season's finish,'' Mystics coach Michael Adams said. ``While we are excited about adding DeLisha to the roster, we will certainly miss Chamique.''
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