Seattle Storm Trade Promising youngster to Washington

The 2024 WNBA season is just a few days away. Before the league officially begins its 28th season, teams must make their selections on cutdown day on May 13. There could be some surprising moves, like the one the Seattle Storm made on Saturday afternoon.

Seattle sent 21-year-old Jade Melbourne to the Washington Mystics for a third-round pick in 2025, according to Jeff Brown of Storm Chasers.

Seattle Storm ships promising youngsters to Washington and what it means for each team

The Storm selected Melbourne with pick No. 33 in the 2022 draft. However, the Storm encouraged the 5-11 point guard to remain with her predraft team, the Canberra Capitals, and continue her development in the WNBL.

Melbourne did come over from Australia last season, although they had little success for the young Storm, who finished with a record of 11-29. The 11 wins were the Storm’s third fewest in franchise history, while their 29 setbacks set a franchise record.

Melbourne was limited to the end of the Storm’s second unit, serving as the 9th-10 player in the rotation in most games. Melbourne finished the campaign averaging 2.6 points, 1.2 assists and 1.2 rebounds in 10.6 minutes across 29 appearances. She scored in double figures once and shot. 391/.150/.793 from the field.

Melbourne had a strong 2023-2024 WNBL season with Canberra, recording 16.3 points, 7.6 assists, 5.1 rebounds and 1.7 steals in 19 games.

What does the trade mean for each team?

Seattle storm

According to Brown, last season was one of growth and development for the Storm as they kept four rookies on their 12-man roster. Jordan Horstonone of the rookies, was named to the All-WNBA Rookie team, while Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeushowed some flashes of promise.

Brown added that while the Storm could have stayed the course and continued to develop their youngsters, particularly Melbourne, who has three seasons left on her rookie contract, the Storm changed their philosophy this offseason.

Seattle signed two of the more prominent names on the free agent market: Skylar Diggins-Smith And Nneka Ogwumike. The Storm, who traded their 2024 first-round pick, also added free-agent guards Victoria Vivians And Kiana Williams and set up Nika Mühl in the second round of this year’s draft.

So Melbourne was essentially the odd one out. Playing in the Storm’s first preseason game, Melbourne recorded 5 points on 1 of 5 shooting from the field, including 0 of 3 from the 3-point line, although she made three of her free throw attempts. She also added one assist while committing three turnovers and three fouls in 13 minutes.

The third-rounder the Storm received from the Mystics has no value, as even first-round selections are routinely waived. But it does give them an asset, as they now have four selections in 2025 (first, second and two-thirds).

Storm’s final selection decision

Seattle has 12 players on its 2024 roster and will have to make another cut because the Storm have gone over the salary cap. According to Brown, five players are possible candidates for being cut: Williams, Vivians, Fankam Mendjiadeu, Muhl and Joyner Holmes. Brown believes the decision will likely come down to Vivians and Holmes.

Brown added that the Storm could make another trade or cut one of their non-guaranteed contract players and pick up another player.

Washington mystics

Washington went 19-21 last season and finished seventh. The Mystics were swept by New York in the first round.

Now it appears the Mystics are in rebuilding mode. Star Elena Delle Donne decided to sit out this season after being hired by the Mystics and Natasha Cloudwho left via free agency.

According to David Yapkowitz of Clutch Points, the Mystics will have to make three cuts before tomorrow’s deadline. Yapkowitz said eight players have secured spots on the roster.Ariel AtkinsMYisha Hines-Allen, Karlie Samuelson, Brittney SykesAnd Stefanie Dolson on veteran-protected contracts. Shakira Austin, Shatori Walker-Kimbroughand newcomer Aaliyah Edwards are locks to make the team.

That leaves Jakia Brown Turner, Julie Vanloo, Kaylynne Truong, Emily Engstler, DiDi Richards, Elissa Cunane, and Melbourne are fighting for the Mystics’ last four spots.

Examining the players competing for Mystics final roster spots

Melbourne and Vanloo, a 31-year-old rookie from Belgium, are likely to battle for the Mystics’ backup point guard spot.

Vanloo has been shaky during the preseason, averaging 4.5 points on 3 of 11 shooting, including 3 of 10 from deep in 41 minutes over two appearances. She also collected 7.0 assists, 3.5 turnovers and 3.0 fouls.

Truong, the No. 21 pick in this year’s draft, saw nine minutes in her lone preseason appearance. Meanwhile, Brown-Turner, who left Maryland, played 11 minutes in two games.

Engstler was the No. 4 pick in 2022 and has 47 games of WNBA experience, although she saw eight minutes per game in 12 games for Minnesota last season. The 6-1 forward produced 3.0 points, 1.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 12.5 minutes during the preseason.

Richards has 45 WNBA game experience in two years. The 6-2 guard averaged 3.0 points, 2.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 2.0 steals in 15 minutes over two appearances.

Cunane, a 2022 second-round draft pick, has appeared in three games. The 6-5 center collected eight minutes of action during the two preseason games.