“The opportunity to be in New York is a dream come true,” said Charles in a conference call Tuesday. “My mom always took me to the Liberty games, I’d see Rebecca Lobo, Becky Hammon, (Teresa) Weatherspoon before games. This is a big dream to play at the Garden.”
She played for Connecticut in college and faced Pondexter, who played for rival Rutgers, often in Big East competition.
The Sun executives said Monday night that their perennial All-Star had threatened not to play if she wasn’t traded.
“I did absolutely consider sitting out,” Charles said. “Connecticut has great parts and players, but the bigger picture was coach Laimbeer and Cappie and the New York Liberty and the opportunity they presented.”
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 WNBA draft, Charles is entering her fifth season in the league. She was the unanimous rookie of the year in 2010 after posting the best first season in WNBA history with a league-record 22 double-doubles. Charles established a WNBA record with 398 rebounds and set the rookie mark for the most boards in a game (23).
“Acquiring Tina is one of the cornerstones of this franchise moving forward,” said Laimbeer, the Liberty coach and general manager. “She’s a scorer and rebounder and wants to win very badly in front of her family and friends.
“She’s going to be here for a long time, it’s a great marriage. It cements a piece of your team for a long period of time and you look how to build around that piece.”
“Being in Newark was a detriment to the franchise,” Laimbeer said. “Now we’re going back to the Garden. It’s a great opportunity to move forward. We got to go out and acquire Tina. Now the pressure’s on. The pressure’s on me to build a team quickly.”