Indiana Fever deal Teaira McCowan, two first-round picks to Dallas Wings in return for three first-round picks

The Indiana Fever are trading 2019 lottery pick Teaira McCowan, the No. 7 pick in this year's draft and a future first-round pick to the Dallas Wings for the Nos. 4 and 6 picks this year and a future first-round selection.

The Fever are sending Chicago's 2023 first-round pick to Dallas, while the future pick from the Wings will be their first-round selection in next year's draft.

Indiana is entering a new phase in its franchise after the recent departure of WNBA legend and general manager Tamika Catchings. The Fever now hold the Nos. 2, 4, 6 and 10 picks in the 2022 draft. Indiana went 40-116 over the past five seasons and is currently being led by interim general manager and senior adviser for basketball operations Lin Dunn, who was previously an assistant and head coach for the Fever as well as head coach and general manager for the Seattle Storm.

"As of today, it's a very strong draft class," Dunn said last month of the 2022 class. "Now, some of these players who are considering going back [for a fifth season] ... if they decide to go back, it adversely affects the strength of the draft. But I still think there is a lot of talent, especially at 2, 7 and 10."

Indiana might already be positioning itself for the 2023 draft. While the Fever currently have four picks in the top 10 of this year's draft -- some of which they could opt to turn into a trade package -- next year's draft class is expected to be better. By exchanging the first-round pick of the reigning champion Sky for that of the Wings, the Fever might be betting that Dallas' pick will end up being better.

McCowan is the third lottery pick the Fever have parted ways with since 2019, as Indiana had previously waived Lauren Cox (No. 3 in 2020) and Kysre Gondrezick (No. 4 in 2021). Should they keep the picks, the Fever will have a lottery pick for the fifth consecutive draft.

Before their current postseason drought, the Fever appeared in the WNBA Finals twice in four years from 2012 to 2015, taking home the franchise's sole title in 2012.

"I do think there's been a little bit of lack of real identity," Dunn said. "Like, who are we and how do we want to play on both ends of the floor? I can tell you this, we will defend. There's not any doubt about that."

Meanwhile, McCowan, a Brenham, Texas, native, set career-high averages in points (11.3), rebounds (9.6) and blocks (1.6) in 2021. The Mississippi State product was a two-time first-team All-American in college before being drafted at No. 3 by the Fever in 2019. McCowan gives the Wings yet another frontcourt piece in a lineup that already includes centers Awak Kuier, Bella Alarie and Charli Collier, the No. 1 pick in 2021.

"Teaira is one of the most dominant, young post players in the WNBA today," Dallas Wings president and CEO Greg Bibb said in a statement. "We are fortunate to add a player of her caliber to our team. Her size and skill will help solidify our interior post presence as we continue to build our talented roster."