February 18, 2021 

Fever notebook: Sign Breland, trade for Allen, add Simpson to coaching staff

Indiana continues its eventful free agency

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Uncasville, Connecticut/USA – July 17, 2018: Atlanta Dream forward Jessica Breland (51) warms up before a WNBA basketball game between the Atlanta Dream and the Connecticut Sun at Mohegan Sun Arena. Photo Credit: Chris Poss

The Indiana Fever continues to shuffle its roster amid free agency, even making a change to its coaching staff as well. On Tuesday morning, it announced the signing of Jessica Breland, a nine-year WNBA veteran forward.

The Fever will mark Breland’s seventh team in the league since the New York Liberty drafted her in 2011. She previously played for the Fever during the 2013 season, making 25 appearances and two starts. Breland holds career averages of 7.3 points and 5.9 rebounds per game.

“Jessica is another key addition we were looking for during this free agency period, ” Head Coach Marianne Stanley said in a release. “She is an excellent rebounder, shot blocker and mid-range scorer. Her experience and versatility will enable her to impact the game at both ends of the floor.”

Breland opted out of the 2020 WNBA “wubble” season in Florida — where she was set to play for the Phoenix Mercury — after receiving a medical exemption due to her history with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Last November, Duke hired Breland an operations intern under first-year coach Kara Lawson. However, the Blue Devils’ season was cut short due to concerns surrounding the ongoing impact of COVID-19.

Breland will fill the void created by the departure of Candice Dupree — a wily veteran power forward with a consistent midrange jump shot. Signing Breland locks down a solid post rotation featuring the recently-extended Jantel Lavender and Teaira McCowan, along with the up-and-coming Lauren Cox.

Just a few hours earlier, the Fever pulled off a trade with the Las Vegas Aces to acquire guard Lindsay Allen and the No. 24 overall selection in the 2021 WNBA Draft. They sent the No. 14 pick to the Aces.

Allen is entering her fourth season in the WNBA, playing her first with New York and the last two with the Aces. She started 21 games for Las Vegas in the Bradenton bubble, averaging 3.3 points, 1.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.

“Lindsay will add to our championship culture, as well as a winning mentality to a position that requires tremendous leadership,” said General Manager Tamika Catchings in a release. “In addition to bringing in Lindsay, being able to add flexibility with our draft picks as result of these two trades is a great asset for us to utilize moving forward.”

In another deal announced late Monday evening, the Fever sent a 2022 second round pick to the Minnesota Lynx in exchange for 2022 first and third round picks and the rights to center Temi Fagbenle.

Finally, the Fever announced Sunday that they’ve hired Jhared Simpson as an assistant on Stanley’s coaching staff. Simpson possesses extensive experience with the Pacers Sports & Entertainment family, having worked on its NBA G-League Team, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, from 2016-2019.

“It is a surreal feeling coming back to Bankers Life Fieldhouse knowing the caliber of team we have with the Fever,” Simpson said in a separate release. “I am incredibly thankful for both Coach Stanley and Tamika Catchings for this opportunity and look forward to building upon this championship culture.”

Stanley previously hired former WNBA champion Le’Coe Willingham to her staff after April Schilling tore her ACL during a practice session.

Written by Ben Rosof

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