Dream trade Chennedy Carter to Sparks

Dream guard Chennedy Carter drives against the Chicago Sky in a WNBA basketball game on Wednesday, May 19, 2021, in College Park.  “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”

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Dream guard Chennedy Carter drives against the Chicago Sky in a WNBA basketball game on Wednesday, May 19, 2021, in College Park. “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”

Seven months after former fourth overall draft pick Chennedy Carter last played for the Dream, the organization parted ways with the young guard.

The Dream traded Carter to the Los Angeles Sparks for 30-year-old guard Erica Wheeler, a 2022 second-round draft pick of the Sparks (No. 15 overall) and a 2023 first-round draft pick of the Sparks.

The Dream also sent the rights to Li Yueru to the Sparks. Yueru was a third-round selection in the 2019 WNBA draft and plays for the Guangdong Dolphins of the Women’s Chinese Basketball Association.

The trade comes after the Dream re-signed Tiffany Hayes, added Nia Coffey and Megan Walker in free agency and acquired veteran center Kia Vaughn in a trade.

Carter, selected in the 2020 draft, was an integral piece to the Dream’s rebuild, but was suspended July 4 for conduct detrimental to the team. She never returned to the Dream, and the organization said that Carter needed to meet certain requirements set by ownership to play again.

At the conclusion of the 2021 season, Carter joined forces with former Dream star Angel McCoughtry for mentorship and guidance. McCoughtry led Carter to sign with a new agent, Rey Jefferson of LEGENCY. Jefferson began conversations with the Dream about Carter’s standing with the organization.

Jefferson said he had Darius Taylor, the Dream’s new assistant general manager, as a point of contact. He received information on what the Dream wanted to see from Carter for her to return to the team. After seeing personal improvement, Carter signed to play with Enea AZS Poznan in Poland to prepare for her return to the WNBA.

At the time, with the Dream hiring former WNBA player Tanisha Wright as its head coach, Jefferson and Carter’s camp were eager for a return to Atlanta and thought the former first-round pick had made progress.

Even so, Jefferson knew that a move elsewhere could’ve been in the cards. Carter, in her season-plus with the Dream, had quickly become a fan favorite and a supposed cornerstone in the franchise’s rebuild.

“She’s happy to be in Atlanta,” Jefferson told the AJC on Jan. 24. “She’d love to help that team get to new heights, but it’s out of our hands. If it is a new place, by all means, there’s value in that.”

This offseason, the Dream overhauled their front office by adding Morgan Shaw Parker as president and Dan Padover as general manager and promoting Taylor to assistant general manager.

After taking extensive time to make a decision, the Dream opted to move on from the Carter era and continue its rebuild in a different direction. The Dream also chose to not pursue former guard Courtney Williams in free agency, who signed with Connecticut.

In Carter’s one-plus seasons in a Dream uniform, she averaged 16.1 points and 3.4 assists per game. The Dream drafted former Arizona guard Aari McDonald before the 2021 season. She could replace Carter alongside Wheeler.