January 15, 2022
Indiana Fever forward Chelsey Perry signs qualifying offer
Perry will be with the Fever on a training camp contract and has a real chance at making the roster
Perry is coming off of a unique first season in the WNBA. After being drafted near the top of the third round in 2021, the mobile forward made the Fever’s opening-night roster and appeared in the first two games of the season. She was then waived to make room for center Bernadett Hatar.
Still, Perry left a strong impression during preseason, when she averaged 11.5 points per game and shot 53.3%, and those two early-season games. So much so that the Fever brought Perry back mid-season after they moved on from former top-three pick Lauren Cox.
That move paid off quickly. Perry played in each of the next four games for the Fever, and three of those were wins. She scored 3.0 points per game and provided an offensive punch that was absent from the team’s bench forwards prior to her arrival. Her mobility and shooting added a new element to Indiana’s second unit. However, she tore her ACL in August, ending her season.
“Chelsey showed tremendous upside during her rookie season, as well as the potential to add valuable depth to our roster on the perimeter and in the frontcourt,” Fever head coach Marianne Stanley said of Perry in the team’s announcement last week. That matches up well with what the eye test indicated about Perry’s skillset.
“Chelsey is continuing to rehab in Indianapolis during the offseason and preparing to return during the upcoming regular season,” Stanley added.
Perry opened up about her rehab in an interview with The Next earlier this offseason, sharing that she has been working out with Fever trainers and is looking to improve her ball-handling. Her development could be important for a Fever team that hopes to take a big step forward next season.
By accepting the qualifying offer, Perry will now be with the Fever on a training camp contract to open the 2022 campaign. It is an unprotected deal for one season, so the Fever have the ability to move on from Perry if they are so inclined, and Perry gets the chance to show off her talents in the preseason like she did last year.
One big pro of bringing Perry back is that she fits the player prototype that general manager Tamika Catchings suggested the Fever needed to acquire this offseason. “The biggest need that we have right now [is] the position at the three and the four,” she said in her end-of-season press conference. Perry can play both of those positions, and she can operate at the faster pace Catchings is hoping to see next season.
Perry’s chances of making the roster may depend on her health when the season starts and her performance in preseason. If the Fever add any players in free agency, on top of their two incoming first-round draft picks, there will be a battle for the final spots on the opening-night roster, and Perry will be in that mix. But her skillset and organizational familiarity make her a natural fit with a growing Indiana team, and there’s a reasonable chance she is a contributor for the group at some point in 2022.