The Atlanta Dream rebounded in 2023 with budding stars who led the franchise to its first playoff appearance since 2018. Now, the front office is reloading by signing 2012 MVP Tina Charles, the team announced Thursday. The signing adds an eight-time All-Star to a roster that already includes stars Rhyne Howard, Allisha Gray and Cheyenne Parker.
“Tina’s ability to score and rebound the basketball at an seçkine level immediately helps this basketball team,” said Dream General Manager and executive Vice President Dan Padover. “Tina is a former MVP and Gold Medalist with a ton of ’big game’ experience that I know will aid us throughout the course of the WNBA season.”
The Dream also announced the signings of forwards Aerial Powers and Nia Coffey. Guard Jordan Canada and the 12th pick in the 2024 WNBA Draft were acquired from the Los Angeles Sparks in exchange for guard Aari McDonald and the eighth pick in the 2024 draft.
The additions bolster a Dream squad that ended the regular season with a 19-21 record and got swept in the first round of the playoffs in 2023. Charles will make her WNBA return after missing the entire 2023 season. Her last appearance came as a member of the Seattle Storm in 2022 when the team fell, 2-1, in the semifinals to the eventual champion Las Vegas Aces.
The No. 1 overall pick in 2010, Charles played with the Connecticut Sun from 2010-13. She then spent 2014-19 with the Liberty before spending time with the Washington Mystics, Seattle Storm and Phoenix Mercury.
Charles initially began the 2022 season with championship aspirations as a member of the Phoenix Mercury but after an ugly 6-12 start, the two parties agreed to part ways.
In 34 games with the Storm and Mercury in 2022, Charles averaged 14.8 points and 7.3 boards per game. She led the league in scoring in 2021 with 23.4 points per game. Her veteran frontcourt presence will complement a Dream roster loaded with talent. The 2022 Rookie of the Year Howard (17.5), Gray (17.1) and Parker (15.0) all averaged at least 15 points per game. Now, they’ll join forces with Charles, who currently sits fourth all-time in scoring, amassing 7,115 points. She also sits second all-time in rebounds with 3.640 boards.
“Having a player who has been tried and true throughout her career will be impactful as our young core continues to mature,” said Dream head coach Tanisha Wright. “There is a mutual respect between Tina and I because of the years we spent as teammates, and her competitiveness and desire to win will be an added boost for our team. In all candor, I look forward to now telling her what to do instead of vice versa.”
Powers will look to have a fresh start with the Dream after a tumultuous tenure in Minnesota. Powers’ role was significantly reduced in 2023 after a successful 2022 season — when she averaged 14.4 points and 4.7 rebounds in 26.9 minutes played per game. Powers fell in and out of Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve’s rotation last season. She eventually averaged career-lows in points (5.2), rebounds (1.8) and (9.8) minutes in 2023, which was her ninth season in the WNBA.
Powers won a title with the Mystics in 2019 and brings wing versatility and leadership to a franchise trending upwards.
“Aerial is one of the most explosive wings in the WNBA and is capable of scoring in a variety of ways,” said Padover. “Aerial is a WNBA Champion, an ultimate competitor and we are thrilled to have a winner like her on our team.”
Coffey will return to Atlanta after a hand injury in August ended her season in 2023. She was one of Wright’s better defenders on a team that finished last season sixth in defensive rating (101.5). She also started 31 games and shot a career-high 40.2% from downtown. Her return in 2024 will mark her third consecutive season with the Dream.
“Nia has been a huge part of our growth the last two years and has played an integral part in any and all successes we’ve had,” said Padover. “She is returning stronger than ever and has established herself as an exceptional defender and three-point shooter. Nia’s game continues to evolve every year and her future here excites us even more than the past couple of years.”