WNBA

Gaines not sure Braxton trade positive or negative

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PHOENIX (AP)

Mercury coach Corey Gaines declined on Sunday to explain the reasons behind the team's trade of starting center Kara Braxton earlier in the week after she was suspended one game by the team for ''conduct detrimental to the team.''

Braxton was traded on Thursday to the New York Liberty for fourth-year pro Sidney Spencer, two days after she was suspended for the Mercury's 90-73 loss to Minnesota.

''We have a group of people, anything like that can cause a difference, I don't know if it is positive or negative,'' Gaines said before the Mercury hosted Connecticut in their first game since the trade.

Gaines declined to answer when asked what led to the suspension and subsequent trade, saying, ''It was detrimental to the team and that's as far as it goes.''

Website SB Nation Arizona reported Saturday that the trade was linked to the suspension.

''We needed to make a move and it happened very quickly,'' Mercury president and general manager Ann Meyers-Drysdale told the website. ''It was internal and we took care of it. Conduct detrimental to the team and that's all we can say.''

Phoenix acquired Braxton from Tulsa last season in exchange for the since-retired Nicole Ohlde and a first-round draft pick. Braxton was averaging 10.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 19.8 minutes a game this season.

The 6-foot-3 Spencer, who missed the Liberty's last three games before the trade due to a strained back, was averaging 2.5 points and 17 minutes per game for New York.

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