Guard Chennedy Carter, 23, with ‘skills to be an All-WNBA talent,’ acquired by Los Angeles Sparks

Guard Chennedy Carter, the No. 4 pick in the 2020 WNBA draft, is headed to the Los Angeles Sparks in a trade from the Atlanta Dream, the teams announced Saturday.

The Sparks also will get the rights to Li Yueru a player from China who was drafted by the Dream in 2019 but has yet to play in the WNBA. Atlanta will get guard Erica Wheeler, a 2022 second-round draft pick (No. 15) and a 2023 first-round pick.

In her first year out of Texas A&M, Carter averaged 17.4 points, 3.4 assists and 2.3 rebounds per game in 2020, earning a spot on the WNBA’s all-rookie team. Last season, Carter played in just 11 games, averaging 14.2 PPG. She scored just two points in the Dream’s loss to the Las Vegas Aces on July 4 and then was suspended indefinitely by the team the next day for “conduct detrimental to the team.” She did not return for the rest of the season.

Dream general manager Dan Padover, who took over in Atlanta in October after previously working in Las Vegas, opted to trade Carter, giving her a fresh start.

“Chennedy Carter has the skills to be an All-WNBA talent,” Sparks coach and general manager Derek Fisher said. “She can score at all three levels and has a tenacious approach to the game. At just 23 years old, we’re excited about the potential for her to be a star for many years to come.”

Yueru is a 6-foot-7 center who averaged 14.8 points and 8.3 rebounds and shot 78.6% from the field for China in the Tokyo Olympics last summer. She has been teammates overseas with longtime Sparks star Nneka Ogwumike.

Wheeler, who turns 31 in May, was undrafted out of Rutgers but has played six seasons in the WNBA. She started in Atlanta in 2015, then finished that season with New York. Then Wheeler spent 2016 to 2019 with the Indiana Fever, didn’t play in the WNBA in 2020 and was with the Sparks last season, in which she averaged 13.6 points and 4.8 assists.

“Erica is a versatile guard in the prime of her career, and we think she’s going to be a great fit here in Atlanta,” Padover said. “Both of these [draft] picks are going to be key assets for us as we aim to re-build this team into a title contender. This trade positions us to be right where we want to be in 2022 and beyond.”

Wheeler is the only undrafted player to win the WNBA All-Star MVP award; she scored 25 points with seven three-pointers and seven assists at the 2019 All Star Game.

“Throughout Erica’s career she has had to fight and claw her way to get to where she is today,” Dream coach Tanisha Wright said. “And we are looking forward to her bringing that same determination and grit to the Dream. Erica gives us someone who can push tempo and be a solid playmaker for her team.”

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