January 15, 2021
Minnesota Lynx free agency preview: Why not?
After quiet 2019 and 2020 free agency periods, Minnesota has plenty of incentives for players in 2021
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Enjoy our team-by-team free agency previews!
‘Tis the season for overreactions, wild speculations, constantly-buzzing phones, tired thumbs, way-too-early predictions, and tardy praise for teams that have been strategizing for months.
The insanity that is WNBA free agency is here, and the Minnesota Lynx should submerge themselves in the chaos.
Between the two Lynx offseasons I’ve previously covered, 2019 and 2020, the Lynx have been relatively quiet compared to the rest of the league, making little splashes here and there without getting their feet too wet in the league’s rapid roster reconstruction. The Lynx attempted to swing at star players in 2020 but didn’t panic and throw away assets to make national headlines once their initial plans fell through.
In both 2019 and 2020, the Lynx entered free agency with franchise-altering news just around the corner. Maya Moore announced she’d be taking the season off three weeks after the 2019 free agency period began, and in 2020, Seimone Augustus left for Los Angeles 10 days after teams were allowed to finalize deals. We’ve often been reminded that anything is possible during WNBA free agency, but it’s unlikely the Lynx’s 2021 free agency story will revolve around losing a franchise player.
Instead, Minnesota should be viewed as an ideal franchise with opportunities for both championship-hunting veterans and those hungry for the chance to play alongside some of the league’s youngest talent.
The Lynx entered 2019’s free agency coming as close to a “rebuild” as Cheryl Reeve’s teams have come in their 10 consecutive playoff-qualifying seasons. The Lynx had more direction by the time 2020’s free agency rolled along thanks to Napheesa Collier’s shining rookie season, but there were still a handful of loose ends to tie up.
Now, the loose ends are still present, but the Lynx enter free agency as the semifinal team that challenged the defending-champion Seattle Storm without their star, Sylvia Fowles. The Lynx are a win-now franchise with an ultrabright future still in the cards. Not to mention, working with 2020’s Coach of the Year, a woman who’s continually advocated for her players, found treasure in the direst scenario of the 2020 bubble, and has implemented the league’s only all-female coaching staff, is a pretty hefty incentive for signing with Minnesota.
Oh, yeah — money is plentiful in Minnesota, too.
The Lynx boasted $452,145 of cap space after the 2020 season, and still sit with a comfortable $393,435 after re-signing Bridget Carleton on Jan. 10.
Are these incentives enough for a Chelsea Gray to leave the Sparks (who chose not to core her) and take on a mentorship role for reigning Rookie of the Year Crystal Dangerfield while trying to win a ring with Fowles, her former Finals opponent? Or what about 2020 Most Valuable Player Betnijah Laney who may be on the cusp of her prime but eons away from contending in Atlanta?
The Lynx have done all they can to galvanize players to become a part of Minnesota’s future. Now is their time to reap the benefits of being a desirable free agency destination.