September 3, 2022
Locked on Women’s Basketball: What’s next for the Phoenix Mercury?
Alex Simon and Hayden Cilley discuss the Mercury's 2022 season and what lies ahead
It’s time for another episode of the Locked on Women’s Basketball podcast! The latest episode features host Alex Simon, who is joined by The Next’s Phoenix Mercury beat writer Hayden Cilley to take a final look at the Mercury’s rollercoaster season and where they might go next season with so much uncertainty. Alex and Hayden discuss guard Skylar Diggins-Smith, head coach Vanessa Nygaard and uncertainty affecting free agency.
Hayden on whether he shares the expectation of Phoenix general manager Jim Pitman that Diggins-Smith will be back for the Mercury next season:
No. … He said the same thing about Bria Hartley last season and said, “She is almost untouchable and she’s one of the core pieces of this team.” I understand at the time that the ability to acquire Diamond DeShields, an electric player on both sides of the floor, [wasn’t known], but something sort of ticks me off a little bit when someone says something like that about a specific player and then they deal that player.
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Hayden on how Phoenix will approach free agency with so much uncertainty:
We don’t know the certainty of Diana Taurasi coming back. She’s stated how she feels good and how she wants to come back, but we’ve seen a lot of people retire suddenly. Look at [Seattle’s] Sue Bird; she said in the middle of the season, “You know what, I think I’m going to call it after this.” And I think for Phoenix right now, [Sophie] Cunningham [a restricted free agent] is 26, [Brianna Turner] is 26, DeShields is … 27, so you have a pretty solid core.
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