September 8, 2023 

Kayla McBride signs extension to stay ‘home’ in Minnesota

'K-Mac is at the root of all the good that has happened for the team this season' - Cheryl Reeve

The present day for the Minnesota Lynx is clear. After a roller coaster season, the team has one regular season game before it embarks on the 2023 WNBA Playoffs to try to bring the franchise its fifth championship of the Cheryl Reeve era. The team’s future also got a lot clearer on Friday afternoon when the Lynx announced they have agreed to an extension with shooting guard Kayla McBride through the 2025 season. 

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A few hours after McBride sat side by side with Minnesota’s head coach and president of basketball operations Cheryl Reeve to publicly announce the deal through a healthy dose of laughs and smiles, McBride stepped on the floor for her 100th game in a Lynx uniform. A bit of poetic timing for the Notre Dame alum known as ‘McBuckets,’ to commit to an optimistic future in Minnesota and to also reflect on all the moments that paved the way for this moment ahead of the penultimate game of her 10th WNBA season.

“It’s been a special day, a special week after talking to (General Manager) Clare (Duwelius) and to Coach,” McBride said. “It just feels like home here. Obviously, there’s been ups and downs for the last three years. A lot of good moments, a lot of bad moments, but there’s been so much growth and so much love and so many lessons.”

McBride has been an essential part of Minnesota clinching a spot in the playoffs in 2023. Her 13.9 points per game entering Friday mark her highest scoring average since joining the Lynx in 2021. Earlier in the season, she and Napheesa Collier were the two active Lynx both honored with spots on Minnesota’s All-25 team in honor of the franchise’s 25th season.

The contract is reportedly fully protected, worth $208K in the first season and $205K in the second season, a source familiar has told The Next. Per Her Hoop Stats, that would give the Lynx a hair over $640K in cap space this coming offseason with McBride, Collier, Jessica Shepard, and rookies Diamond Miller and Dorka Juhász on the books for next year.

“It’s a special day for us,” Reeve said. “We’re very excited to have someone like Kayla McBride, who has just been so integral since the day that she signed back in 2021. The growth of our team in those three seasons, and certainly this season, K-Mac has been really special in terms of the ways that she’s given leadership-wise and then her game. It’s just been really fun to have K-Mac these last three years, and to say that we’re gonna be going forward for a few more years is pretty exciting.”

After beginning the season with a six-game losing streak, the Lynx have gone 19-13 (UPDATE AFTER FRIDAY) to position themselves right in the middle of the league’s playoff mix. McBride has contributed in countless ways, big and small, to Minnesota’s success. Specifically, her partnership with Collier has continued to reach new heights. When the two superstars are on, it makes the Lynx offense its most explosive version of itself.

“It’s really fun to play with [McBride], especially in a pick-and-roll,” Collier said after a Lynx win at Dallas on Aug. 24th. “She’s one of the best shooters on our team, so any time I’m in a pick-and-roll with (her), I think we both have so much gravity that we can pretty much get any shot we want. Because if they go with me, she’s open. If they go with her, I’m open. So playing with her is really fun. Her pocket pass is really good, her floor awareness and obviously, when she gets the ball, she can knock it down. I think we’ve established that kind of repertoire.”

Napheesa Collier of the Minnesota Lynx runs up the court and high-fives teammate Kayla McBride against the Los Angeles Sparks
Minnesota Lynx guard Kayla McBride congratulates forward Napheesa Collier after a basket during a game against the Los Angeles Sparks at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minn., on July 20, 2023. (Photo credit: John McClellan)

McBride’s extension may be coming at the conclusion of her most productive season in Minnesota on the floor, but her leadership off the court has been one of the biggest keys in helping a young team grow up quickly.

“I thought Kayla was just huge in terms of the team this season being the team that we want to be on and off the court,” Reeve said. “We’ve knocked it out of the park with that. Kayla, in the way that she has given of herself, the way that she’s taken the rookies under her wing, and really just everybody just the way that she’s communicated.”

“K-Mac is at the root of all the good that has happened for the team this season.”

At (Updated record after Chicago game), the Lynx are by no means a finished product, but with McBride clearly in the fold with the rest of the young core for the next few seasons, they’re taking a big step in the direction of the finished product they hope to become. McBride staying home in Minnesota is a pretty hefty dose of clarity for a group in desperate need of a little clarity this time one year ago.

“When I define home, it’s even on the rough days, it’s still going to end up being good days,” McBride said. When you enjoy going to work with people that you love every day, it makes it easier on those hard days. What Coach was talking about, last year was tough. Sylvia (Fowles) leaving, (Collier) not being there. It was tough; it was hard on me. Coming back this year, just kind of embracing it. I truly believe the grass is greener where you water it. Just giving of myself, especially this year, has been a lot of fun. I’ve enjoyed the process. I’ve matured a lot over these three years. When I go into the gym every day, I just enjoy where I’m at. I think that’s the biggest part of this whole thing.”

Written by Terry Horstman

Terry Horstman is a Minneapolis-based writer and covers the Minnesota Lynx beat for The Next. He previously wrote about the Minnesota Timberwolves for A Wolf Among Wolves, and his other basketball writing has been published by Flagrant Magazine, HeadFake Hoops, Taco Bell Quarterly, and others. He's the creative nonfiction editor for the sports-themed literary magazine, the Under Review.

1 Comment

  1. RM Williams on September 9, 2023 at 6:37 am

    Just over a month ago I was really on the fence about McBride. However, since then, I think that there has been a marked change in consistency and effectiveness from Kayla. Yesterday’s announcement was one greeted ( at least by me) as a positive and necessary piece of the puzzle for moving forward. Even in last night’s loss to Chicago, it was there. So knowing that McBride will return next season is comforting.
    Sadly, what wasn’t there was the bench. Even though only three players made it onto the court (once again Powers sat) they had an aggregate of one point. One. At a time and in an important game, the bench provided one point. Would it have been a difference maker? I’d say yes. Collier did her job, Miller did her job, Juhász did her job, McBride did her job, and Mitchell did her job. They scored. I think the game was a good indication of who might not (and probably shouldn’t) be here next season. Juhász has proven her worth to the team, and Miller continues to improve as well. When the Lynx have a legitimate point guard, Mitchell can go back to doing what she does. After the playoffs, Coach Reeve and GM Claire Duwelius will have a lot of work to do, assessing the needs of the team and who will be right in filling those needs. At least now with McBride on board, the foundation looks much more solid. The rookies will continue to improve, and Collier will keep growing in her leadership role. The future will be bright as long as the right pieces are built upon this foundation.

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