Alexis Hornbuckle, a four-year WNBA veteran guard, has been traded by the Lynx to Phoenix for a second-round pick in the 2013 WNBA draft.

The Lynx re-signed Hornbuckle, who was a restricted free agent, on Thursday before trading her.

"Alexis was a key member of our championship team last year," said Roger Griffith, the Lynx executive vice president. "Many of her attributes extended beyond the court, as she provided valuable leadership to our team and a winning mentality."

Hornbuckle, as a rookie, was on Detroit's 2008 WNBA championship team. She also played on back-to-back NCAA championship teams at Tennessee in 2007 and '08/

"On the court she plays with a lot of energy and intensity and is a good defender," Griffith said. "Unfortunately for all of us, with our depth at the guard position, theer just wasn't a lot of playing time available [for her]."

Hornbuckle averaged 1.1 points, 1.1 rebounds and 0.6 assists in 7.2 minute per game last season. All those numbers were career lows.

"We think this trade provides her with more of an opportunity," Griffith said, "and that's something she wanted. We thank her for her contributions to our team and wish her nothing but the best in Phoenix."

The Detroit Shock drafted Hornbuckle with the fourth overall pick in the 2008 WNBA draft. In her pro career, she has averaged 4.5 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 123 games. 

She started 21 games at Detroit in 2008 and 10 at Tulsa in 2010 before the Shock traded her to the Lynx on July 26, 2010. Hornbuckle played 13 games for the Lynx in 2010 and 29 last year but never started a game.

 “Alexis joins our team with a championship pedigree, having won at every stop,” said Corey Gaines, Mercury's head coach and general manager. “We expect her versatility at the guard position to be a great asset to our team. She can defend, she can rebound, she can play multiple positions and she can score when called upon.”

 Hornbuckle will make her first return to Minnesota when the Mercury opens the 2012 WNBA season against the Lynx on Sunday, May 20. The game will be nationally televised on ABC.

* The Lynx are still in discussions with representative of two other restricted free agents, guard Candice Wiggins and Charde Houson, both members of the Lynx for four seasons.

As of Wednesday, they and all of the league's other free agents could sign contracts or offer sheets. 

* The game I remember Hornbuckle for the most last season was the Lynx's 84-75 playoff loss at San Antonio. It was their only loss in eight playoff games and the starters didn't play well and shots were not falling.

But Hornbuckle provided a noticeable spark off the bench. She had seven points, four rebounds and two assists in eight minutes. She only played in four playoff games and averaged 3.8 minutes.