With dignitaries from the Bahamas Consulate in New York, including Consul General, the Honorable Leroy F. Major, in attendance, the New York Liberty officially welcomed Jonquel Jones to the Barclays Center. Bringing the 2021 WNBA MVP to Brooklyn involved a three-team trade involving Jones’ longtime team, the Connecticut Sun, as well as the Dallas Wings.
Liberty General Manager Jonathan Kolb described this as one of the biggest trades in franchise history. He thanked the Liberty’s ownership group, operations and analytics departments, coaching staff and other teams involved in the trade, but especially the players now on other rosters, especially Rebecca Allen, who played for the Liberty through several coaching and roster changes.
“When you get a player of this caliber, you have to give up value. It’s hard,” Kolb said. “(Rebecca Allen) was a staple of this franchise.”
Jones, 29, who is from the Bahamas, has played for the Connecticut Sun since joining the WNBA in 2016. In addition to earning MVP honors, she is a four-time WNBA All-Star, three-time All-WNBA Second Team member, two-time member of the WNBA All-Defensive First Team and three-time WNBA Peak Performer in Rebounding. She said at this point in her career she wanted a change, and New York seemed like the perfect fit.
“I felt it was time for a change, time for a new chapter,” Jones said. “I felt for my growth as an athlete, as a person, I wanted to step into a new situation, enter a new organization and get better. I’m glad I chose New York, and I’m glad New York chose me.”
Despite being one of the few remaining original WNBA franchises, New York has never won a championship. Their last trip to the finals was in 2002. Jones said it would be great to help Liberty to its first title. “Everybody knows New York is a basketball town; people love the game,” she said. “It would mean everything to me to be able to bring the championship here to New York, but I think it would also mean a lot to the WNBA.”
Speculation has been rampant about which free agents the Liberty will sign to join Jones on the roster. There is no doubt more news to come before training camp starts this spring.