Kristine Anigwe trade grades: Sun make surprising move to send first-round pick to Wings for Theresa Plaisance

It's been an awfully slow lead-up to the trade deadline in the WNBA this year, but a few hours ahead of Tuesday night's 8 p.m. ET cutoff time, we finally have a move. 

The Dallas Wings and Connecticut Sun have agreed to a straight swap that will see rookie forward Kristine Anigwe head to Dallas in exchange for veteran big Theresa Plaisance. 

"This deal brings us a young and athletic post player who will fit well into Coach Agler's system," Dallas Wings President & CEO Greg Bibb said. "We believe Kristine is an elite rebounder with tremendous potential on both sides of the ball and we are excited for her to continue to develop her game as a member of the Wings organization."

"We are excited about the acquisition of Theresa Plaisance," Sun head coach and general manager Curt Miller said. "Theresa is a talented, versatile offensive player and is considered one of the best stretch post players in the league. She is someone who we have targeted for a few seasons and we are excited to have her with us."

It was a bit of a surprising move considering the Sun selected Anigwe with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2019 WNBA Draft just a few months ago, but Miller has never been afraid to make bold moves. Now that the deal is official, let's take a look at what it means for each team. 

Trade grades

Connecticut Sun

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  • Theresa Plaisance

On the one hand, recognizing mistakes and moving swiftly to fix them is a good trait for a coach and general manager to have. At the same time, it's perhaps not a great sign that after trading Anigwe, the Sun have now given up on each of their past two first-round picks within a season. 

Through the first half of her rookie season, Anigwe has played sparingly, averaging just seven minutes per game. It's still too early to draw any serious conclusions about her future in the league, but the Sun's thinking here seems pretty obvious. They have a strong chance at winning a title this season, and believe a veteran big will be more helpful in that quest than Anigwe. 

The main question is whether or not Plaisance will be productive enough the rest of this season and moving forward to offset the possibility of Anigwe unlocking her potential with the Wings and making this deal look rather shortsighted. Miller and the Sun are betting that Plaisance will.

There's no question that Plaisance's style fits better with the Sun. She has good size inside at 6-foot-5, and can offer a bit of rim protection, while also being able to space the floor and shoot threes on the other end of the floor. Plaisance is a solid three-point shooter, hitting exactly 35 percent for her career, but can be quite streaky. Perhaps on a good Sun team her efficiency will improve with more open looks. Along with being able to play away from the paint, she's also a solid passer, and will help improve the ball movement in the Sun's second unit. 

Plaisance is better than Anigwe right now, but it will be quite interesting to see if she's much of a difference maker on this Sun team, especially once they get into the playoffs and shorten their rotation. She could be, but there's a real chance this move backfires on the Sun. 

Grade: C+

Dallas Wings

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  • Kristine Anigwe

Head coach Brian Agler has been hinting at some roster changes over the past few weeks, so it wasn't much of a surprise to see the Wings move one of their veterans. And getting a talented young big like Anigwe in exchange for Plaisance is an awesome move for the Wings. 

Plaisance is decent, but as a veteran role player on a young, rebuilding Wings team, she didn't fit their timeline. Anigwe does, and also has far more potential. Athletic and one of the best rebounders in NCAA history, Anigwe should fit right in to Agler's system and give the Wings another physical presence inside. 

There's no guarantee she ever puts it all together in the WNBA, but the Wings need as many talented young players as possible, and there was no real risk involved in giving up Plaisance. If Anigwe can get a little stronger and improve on her finishing around the rim, she could be a special player with how well she rebounds. 

It will be interesting to see how the rest of the season goes down in Dallas, and if she can form a high-low partnership with the Wings' other rookie, Arike Ogunbowale. 

Grade: A

NBA Writer

Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio

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