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Keeping Kara Braxton Was Always Part Of The Mercury's Plan

The timing of the announcement was a bit unexpected, but the deal itself was always part of the plan.

Phoenix Mercury GM Ann Meyers-Drysdale didn't give up Nicole Ohlde and the team's 2011 first round draft pick to only get Kara Braxton for the rest of this season.

Here's what Coach Gaines said after the trade:

"I don't think you can find someone like her in the draft," Gaines said and when asked about her contract for next season, "We'll get that done."

Today, the team announced that they've locked up the 6-foot-6 center to a multi-year deal. Terms were not disclosed.

"I'm very excited about signing this contract and staying in Phoenix," Braxton said. "This is a good place and a good situation to be in. I couldn't ask for anything more than being on a winning team and with a franchise that accepts me and wants me to contribute to their success. For me to get this opportunity with this group of ladies is a dream come true."

Since joining the team, the 6-6 insider has averaged 10.8 points and 5.0 rebounds in 11 games. In her Mercury home debut on July 29, Braxton scored a season-high 20 points and grabbed six rebounds in just 18 minutes of play.

Braxton's low post offense and even more impressive her ability to distribute the ball and initiate the offense from the block makes the Mercury an even more dangerous team on offense. Defensively, she has the size to box out and help the team on the defensive glass - an area of concern all season long.

"Kara adds a different dimension to this team with her size and strength down low," head coach Corey Gaines said. "She's one of the few bigs in this league that demands a double team. As she spends more time in this system she is only going to get better. Plus, the intangibles of her championship experience and veteran leadership are things you can't find anywhere else."