A year ago, Adrian Williams was the Mercury's only WNBA All-Star. Unhappy with a drastically reduced role this season, Williams now is a member of the San Antonio Silver Stars.
Williams was traded Monday for second-year power forward Gwen Jackson. Because Williams has been bothered by a sore knee, the trade is dependent upon her passing a physical today, which the Mercury expect to happen. She was unavailable for comment because she was traveling to San Antonio.
“Adrian definitely was having to deal with a different role on the team this year from last year,” said Mercury general manager Seth Sulka. “She went from playing significant minutes to being used less significantly, so it was difficult on her to maintain her rhythm under those circumstances.
“She is going to get an opportunity to play more consistent minutes.”
Last season, the 6-foot-4 Williams, a forward/center, averaged 29 minutes per game. With the additions of Penny Taylor and Shereka Wright in the offseason, Williams saw her playing time plummet. Playing in only 11 of the Mercury's 20 games (she was on injured reserve twice and missed some games with the flu), Williams averaged only 13.2 minutes per game.
While Williams didn't hide her displeasure about not playing, Sulka insisted she was not a problem for the coaching staff or other players.
“Adrian has really handled the situation very professionally this year from start to finish,” said Sulka. “She is a good person and represented us well on the court and in the offseason. It makes it difficult when you move good people.”
Williams worked in community relations for the Mercury in the offseason.
Jackson, the sixth pick in the 2003 draft, also was having trouble getting playing time. As a rookie, the 6-foot-3, 182-pound Tennessee product averaged 8.8 points per game. This year, she was down to 3.2 points in 15.3 minutes per game.
“For us, we just felt Gwen Jackson will be a better fit from a post standpoint,” said Sulka. “They are similar in that they both are power forwards. Gwen has the ability to really spread the offense with her (shooting) range.”
The Mercury and San Antonio meet at noon Wednesday at America West Arena.