By Chris Lingebach

WASHINGTON — The Washington Mystics officially announced Thursday their acquisition of WNBA superstar Elena Delle Donne from the Chicago Sky, a trade first reported Monday evening.

A Wilmington, Del. native, Delle Donne reportedly wanted to play closer to home, prompting a trade in which the Mystics sent All-Star center Stefanie Dolson, last year’s seventh overall draft pick, guard Kahleah Copper, and the second overall selection in the upcoming draft in April.

Along with earning MVP honors in 2015, Delle Donne, a 6-5 forward, is a three-time All-Star (2013-2015, there was no All-Star Game last year due to the Olympics), has twice been named to the All-WNBA First Team and won Rookie of the Year in 2013, the year she was drafted second overall out Delaware. She also won gold as a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team in Brazil last summer.

“Clearly, this is one of the biggest moves in the history of this organization,” Mystics head coach Mike Thibault said. “In only four years, Elena has established herself as one of the premier players in the world, as evidenced by her MVP season two years ago. Her impact on and off the court will be invaluable. Her pure basketball talents as a scorer, passer, rebounder, and shot-blocker will raise the level of effectiveness of all her teammates, and those talented teammates will take a lot of the day- to-day pressure off of her as well.”

Delle Donne averaged 21.5 points, 7 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 28 games for Chicago last season. Over her four-year career, she’s averaged 20.5 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game and helped lead the Sky to the playoffs each year, including a trip to the WNBA Finals in 2014.

“She joins a core group that is just entering the best years of their careers and is making a commitment to helping the Mystics become one of the elite organizations in the WNBA,” Thibault said. “Her involvement in the D.C. community will have an impact on a daily basis. This is an exciting time to be a Mystics fan.”

“Hey Mystics fans, I can’t even begin to express how excited I am to be coming to D.C. and playing for such a great organization,” Delle Donne said in an introductory video Thursday. “They’ve built such a strong team and I’m super excited for our future. I also cannot wait to get on the court and start working with my new teammates. I promise to work my absolute hardest in trying to bring this incredible city a championship. I’m also super excited to meet all of you and see you packing the Verizon Center. It’s going to be a very special year and I can’t wait to achieve things together.”

The D.C. sports community gave its new superstar a warm welcome on social media.

Follow @ChrisLingebach and @1067TheFan on Twitter.


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