Washington also receives draft pick in deal

Updated: March 22, 2005, 12:53 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

The Washington Mystics on Monday traded forward Chamique Holdsclaw to the Los Angeles Sparks for forward Delisha Milton-Jones and the 13th pick in the 2005 WNBA draft.

"On behalf of the organization, I would like to thank Chamique for her service to the Mystics," Washington Sports and Entertainment president Susan O'Malley said. "Obviously, Chamique went through a very trying time personally last season, and we have attempted to support her in every way possible. When she asked us to consider trading her for a fresh start, we felt it was best for everyone to honor that request. We wish only the best for Chamique both personally and professionally."

Holdsclaw was the first overall pick in the 1999 draft. In six seasons with the Mystics, she averaged 18.3 points, nine rebounds and 2.5 steals per game. She was the 1999 WNBA rookie of the year.

However, Holdsclaw left the Mystics in 2004 because of what at the time was called an undisclosed medical issue. She missed the final 13 games of the season because of what was eventually revealed to be depression.

"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," Holsclaw said in a statement. "I know that I greatly benefited from my experiences in Washington, which will help me both personally and professionally as I move on."

Milton-Jones was the fourth overall pick in the 1999 draft. In six seasons with Los Angeles, she averaged 30.4 minutes, 11.4 points, six rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. She was a member of the Sparks team that won back-to-back championships in 2001 and 2002, averaging 34.4 minutes, 12.8 points, 2.5 assists and 1.57 steals per game in postseason play.

"We have a lot of confidence in Delisha and her abilities," Mystics general manager Linda Hargrove said in a statement. "Having won two WNBA championships, she brings that experience as well as leadership to our team. She has the intangibles that will help us take the steps necessary to become a contender for the Eastern Conference championship."

In 2004, Milton-Jones started 19 games for the Sparks before being sidelined for the rest of the season with a knee injury.

"While we are excited about adding Delisha to the roster, we will certainly miss Chamique," Mystics head coach Michael Adams said. "In my first year as a head coach, I feel very fortunate to have coached a player of the caliber of Chamique Holdsclaw. She will truly be missed by the Mystics organization and we wish her all the best."

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