Canada's Kia Nurse is headed to the northwest.
The Hamilton, Ont., native announced on Twitter on Friday that she was signing with the Seattle Storm in free agency, leaving the Phoenix Mercury after two seasons.
Nurse, 26, missed the entire 2022 season with a knee injury suffered in the 2021 playoffs. She returned to competitive action at the World Cup in the fall, where she helped Canada place fourth, its best finish at a major basketball tournament since 1986.
The University of Connecticut alumna averages 11 points per game in her WNBA career, to go along with 2.8 rebounds and two assists.
She joins a marquee franchise in Seattle that saw two major stars recently depart the team, with Sue Bird's retirement followed by Breanna Stewart's move to the New York Liberty in free agency. Nurse spent the first three seasons of her career with the Liberty after being drafted by the club 10th overall in 2018.
Seattle also came to terms with Australian guard Sami Whitcomb.
Noelle Quinn, the Storm's head coach, is also the lead assistant of the Canadian national women's team.
"Kia is a talented, versatile guard and a proven impact player and competitor in our league," Storm general manager Talisa Rhea said. "She brings valuable experience as a leader of Team Canada on the international stage, and we look forward to the positive impact she will have on our team here in Seattle."
Two other Canadians are under contract for the upcoming WNBA season, with Bridget Carleton and Natalie Achonwa both members of the Minnesota Lynx. However, Achonwa's status is in doubt after announcing she was pregnant in November.
Stevens to Sparks
Meanwhile, Azura Stevens is signing with the Los Angeles Sparks, the team announced Friday.
The 6-foot-6 free agent forward won a WNBA title with the Chicago Sky in 2021 and has averaged 9.0 points and 4.4 rebounds in her career.
"I am beyond excited to be joining the Los Angeles Sparks," she said. "The plan that [general manager Karen Bryant and coach Curt Miller] are putting together for this team & organization is special and I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of it. I can't wait to get to LA [and] get to work!"
Stevens was drafted by Dallas in 2018 and she played 34 games in her first season, earning All-WNBA rookie team honours.
"Azura was our number one free agent target," Bryant said. "She is already a WNBA champion and is just entering the prime of her career. We are thrilled that she chose the Sparks as her new team and LA as her new home."
The Sparks already added Dearica Hamby in a trade with Las Vegas last month and Jasmine Thomas in a separate deal. Los Angeles also re-signed Lexie Brown.
Chicago now has lost Stevens, Courtney Vandersloot and Candace Parker to free agency, though the team did sign centre Elizabeth Williams, who is a dominant defensive player.
"We are so excited to have Elizabeth in a Chicago Sky uniform," Sky GM and coach James Wade said. "For as long as she's been in the league, she's been the epitome of a player that is a hard worker, a great leader and embodies the values of the WNBA."