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Jasmine Thomas re-signs with Sun

Jasmine Thomas spent the start of her WNBA career being shuffled around the league. She was drafted on April 11, 2011 and dealt away 18 days later. She was traded again (2013) and again (2015).

The last of those trades was to the Connecticut Sun on the night of the 2015 draft. She was finally able to establish a WNBA home as the franchise valued her as a key player to help it rebuild.

Thomas re-signed with Connecticut on Thursday and will be its starting point guard for the seventh year this season.

“Ending up in Connecticut was the best thing that could happen to me personally and for my career,” Thomas said. “My first season with (then head coach) Anne (Donovan), noticeably I had some success just with being comfortable, feeling wanted somewhere, having the opportunity to just kind of be myself and play and not feel like something could change without notice. I felt like I was really able to get comfortable in that first season.

“Since then, with (current head coach and general manager) Curt (Miller), building a relationship with him and being in a system designed for me, for all of us, to feel comfortable. I feel like he’s been great with helping me grow as a player every year. He’s also given me the opportunity to be a leader. I feel like that’s a quality that I have. It’s both of us doing that. The point guard and veterans are an extension of the coach, so him giving me the freedom to do that has allowed me on the court to feel comfortable and grow as an athlete.”

Per team policy, no details were announced.

Thomas is the second player Connecticut re-signed this week in the first week of free agency. The first was Alyssa Thomas on Tuesday.

“As much as it makes sense (for Jasmine to stay here),” Miller said, “(her) role here, the comfortability, what she means to the franchise, to the locker room, what she means to our franchise off the court, (re-signing) her didn’t come without a battle. She was seriously sought after (by other teams).

“Jasmine has earned the right to listen to other offers. Jasmine has earned the right to make her own decision on what she felt was best at the back end of her career. It wasn’t like, ‘Jas, we want you back’ and the boxes checked. She went through the (free agency) process. She was courted, she listened (to other offers) and we’re very fortunate to have her back.”

Thomas has been an integral part of Connecticut’s recent success. It was floundering when she and Alyssa Thomas arrived in 2015. The franchise has made the playoffs the past four seasons, including a run to the 2019 WNBA Finals.

Jasmine Thomas has also been one of the league’s best defensive guards the past several seasons. She was named to the All-Defensive First Team from 2017-19 and was second team in 2016.

“Jas has been a proven and decorated defender in this league,” Miller said. “That’s a work ethic, that’s a determination to show up each and every night and defend her guts out.”

WNBA teams can roster up to 12 players. Connecticut currently has eight players under contract because eight members of last year's roster became free agents. Brionna Jones is the top one left unsigned. She started last season in the absence of two-time All-WNBA center Jonquel Jones and was one of the league's most improved players.

n.griffen@theday.com

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