January 29, 2023
Alysha Clark expected to sign with the Las Vegas Aces in free agency
The 2022 WNBA champs take another step towards building a super team by signing 2x champ Alysha Clark
For the second day in a row, the Aces made another splash in free agency. Yesterday, Candace Parker announced she will sign with the 2022 WNBA champs. Now, the Aces are expected to sign former Washington Mystic Alysha Clark on Feb. 1, when players are officially allowed to sign with teams, The Next’s Howard Megdal reports.
Clark, the 11-year WNBA veteran, is coming off two years with the Mystics. Clark signed with Washington in 2021 after nine seasons with the Seattle Storm, where she won two WNBA championships. She missed all of the 2021 season recovering from a Lisfranc Injury while playing overseas in France. Last season in D.C., Clark averaged 8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2 assists a game. Clark shot 46% from the field, 30% from three and 91% from the free throw line.
How Clark fits into the Aces cap is currently unclear. The Aces are expected to sign Parker to a one-year deal. The Aces have just over $300,000 in cap space, with both Parker’s and Clark’s salary unknown at this time. If they are both willing to take a pay cut, they may both be able to be signed without needing to shed additional salary. Otherwise, the Aces may have to cut or trade a veteran player in order to fit them both onto the roster.
Last year was one of the worst of Clarks’ career, statistically. She had her lowest points, rebounds, assists, and steals since 2018. She also shot her second-lowest three-point percentage of her career while attempting the second-most threes in a season. However, Clark felt that not being 100% and going through the tough foot injury was a big reason for her struggles last season.
“I mean, it was an up-and-down journey throughout the season. I knew that coming into the summer, I knew, you know, talk with my PT during the offseason. I knew that was going to be something that I was gonna have to manage and kind of just expect,” Clark said. “I felt good, you know, overall, like I felt healthy. My foot felt great. Which, you know, the nature of this injury you never know. And a lot of athletes don’t come back from it… I’m really proud of being able to sustain a season after what happened.”
Where Clark has been the most successful in her career is on the defensive end. She has been named to a WNBA All-Defensive team twice in her career, once in 2019 and again in 2020. Clark has been known as one of the elite perimeter defensive stoppers so far in her career.
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This signing makes a ton of sense for the Aces. Coming into free agency, the main things the Aces needed was the quality veteran depth at most positions. Clark will give the Aces great wing depth behind the likes of Jackie Young and Kelsey Plum. As a career 38% three-point shooter, Clark can space the floor for the Aces on the offensive side of the ball. Another year removed from her Lisfranc injury should also help Clark return to her 2020 form when she had a career-high in scoring and three-point shooting.
She also will fit right into Becky Hammon’s philosophy of defense first. Hammon talked all last season on how the Aces’ defense is what would win them games and Clark can do that in spades. This also will give the Aces a defender to put on the opposing team’s best offensive guard late in games when they need a stop. She and 2022 WNBA DPOY A’ja Wilson will make a great tandem on that side of the ball.
Clark, like Parker, is in the later stages of her career, so the Aces as a destination makes sense for the former second-round pick. The Aces needed to add veteran depth after winning the championship last year with a small rotation. Clark is the perfect fit with her defensive prowess and ability to space the floor. The Aces continue to bring in former WNBA champions who will only help bolster their chances to repeat as champions.
Written by Matthew Walter
Matthew Walter covers the Las Vegas Aces, the Pac-12 and the WCC for the Next. He is a former Director of Basketball Operations and Video Coordinator at three different Division I women's basketball programs.