After spending three years with the Washington Mystics, free agent guard Kristi Toliver has announced she will be leaving the team to join the Los Angeles Sparks. Toliver previously played for the Sparks from 2010-2016 winning a WNBA title in 2016 subsequently joining the Mystics the following season.
In Kristi Toliver’s three years with the Mystics, she played 90 games averaging 12.9 points and 4.4 assists making two All-Star appearances. Along with Elena Delle Donne and Natasha Cloud, the Mystics accumulated a record of 66-36, including a franchise-best 26-8 record last season, two straight WNBA Finals appearances and the franchise’s first ever WNBA championship.
Here is a statement Kristi Toliver made in a phone interview regarding her decision to leave the Washington Mystics:
“I’m going to miss my teammates and coaches and the fans a ton. “But, you know, the business of basketball makes you have to make tough decisions. This was certainly one of them. … To get to back-to-back Finals and come up with one — winning a championship was the ultimate goal. Obviously very thankful and blessed that I was able to have this experience in D.C. and help bring a winning culture, a championship, to the city and to the organization. I couldn’t be happier with the past three years.”
Mystics coach Mike Thibault also made a statement saying, “We were offering basically the same contract that she was offered somewhere else. The difference ended up being in the last year on the contract, the third year. I think that there’s a couple realities at play here with the new collective bargaining agreement that are the biggest factors. One is that we have four or five other players that are going to become free agents over the next two years. And we needed to make sure that when those things occurred that we can try to keep as many of our good young players here on our team.As a GM, you just can’t jeopardize the long-term future of your team in that situation. I’m sad that [Toliver] is leaving. I wish we could’ve put that group out there. But she had to make a decision she was comfortable with for the long term.”
Kristi Toliver, who currently serves as an assistant coach for the Washington Mystics, will remain with the team for the remainder of the season.
— Washington Mystics (@WashMystics) February 10, 2020