February 6, 2022 

Building a culture, the Indiana Fever keep veterans Emma Cannon and Lindsay Allen

Indiana is starting to make moves in free agency, signing Allen and Cannon to unprotected contracts

The Indiana Fever have begun to put their stamp on WNBA free agency. In a pair of moves on Friday, the team brought back two veterans from the 2021 squad, Lindsay Allen and Emma Cannon.

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Allen provided stability for the Fever at the backup point guard spot last season. She organized Indiana’s second unit and directed the timing of multiple sets, often earning the praise of head coach Marianne Stanley. Her skills grew in 2021 as well: Allen notched career-high scoring and passing numbers while shooting her best-ever percentage from two-point range. The four-year veteran doesn’t have a ton of burst, but her improvements in the mid-range last season made her a more reliable play finisher.

“Lindsay was a great addition for us last year at the point guard position,” Stanley said in the team’s press release. “Her vision, basketball IQ and leadership added a lot to our team. We are pleased to have her back again in Indiana.”

Allen stepped up in a big way for the Fever when starting point guard Danielle Robinson was injured down the stretch. She posted her best-ever scoring and passing nights in September 2021, and in Indiana’s final game, Allen achieved her first career double-double against the eventual WNBA champion Chicago Sky.

“Just playing as hard as I can whenever I’m out there,” Allen noted of her success in 2021, “and just being aggressive early to start the game.”

According to the WNBA transaction log, Allen’s contract is a training camp deal. That means it’s a one-year, unprotected contract for the minimum salary. The University of Notre Dame product will have to compete for a roster spot, and Indiana’s recent acquisition of Bria Hartley may force general manager Tamika Catchings to make some tough choices after training camp. That said, if Stanley’s affinity for Allen last season means anything, the franchise may value Allen more than Hartley.

In addition to Allen, Catchings brought back forward Emma Cannon. Cannon joined the Fever late in the 2021 season on a trio of seven-day deals before being inked to a rest-of-season contract on Sept. 6.

Cannon, a three-year veteran with WNBA Finals experience, added some spirit and toughness to the Indiana Fever after she joined the team. The journeywoman defended with a force that the team needed with multiple players injured late in the season.

“I’m just happy that I’m a part of something,” Cannon said in September.

Now, after averaging 6.9 points and 4.5 rebounds per game with the red and blue last year, Cannon will return to the squad. “Emma’s competitiveness was always a main reason why we wanted to keep her in Indiana after a very productive stint with us,” Stanley said in the team’s release. “She has greatly improved her scoring ability overseas during the offseason and we look forward to her remaining with our franchise.”

Cannon has been playing for Ramel in Israel during the offseason, where she is teammates with Fever guard Kelsey Mitchell. Indiana is hoping Cannon’s 24.3 points per game average overseas can translate, at least somewhat, to the WNBA court.

Richard Cohen of Her Hoop Stats reported that Cannon’s deal is unprotected for two seasons and comes in at $80,000 in the first year and $82,400 in the second. That deal, combined with Allen’s and the Hartley trade, puts the Indiana Fever at 10 active contracts (including training camp deals), though their cap sheet could change dramatically on draft night given that the team has three of the first 10 selections.

Both deals are unprotected, so it isn’t clear whether Allen or Cannon will make the Fever’s regular-season roster. But re-signing both players allows Stanley to do something she said she wanted to do as soon as she was hired: build a culture in Indiana. “I look forward to working together with Tamika, Allison [Barber, the Fever president and chief operating officer] and the outstanding, talented core group of Fever players in the quest to build a championship culture and mindset here in Indianapolis,” Stanley said back when she was hired in November 2019.

While neither Allen or Cannon are more than reserves, they both play a tremendous role in enhancing the family feeling within Indiana’s roster. Both players have WNBA Finals experience and have played in multiple markets, so they bring a lot of experience to a young and growing Indiana Fever team. That matters a lot to the franchise, and it played a role in both players returning for 2022.

These signings fill out Indiana’s depth at the point guard and power forward spots. Any other moves the Fever make in free agency will likely address the team’s need for depth at center or wings who can impact the game on both ends. Indiana has plenty of cap room to add players of any archetype, but with the signings of Cannon and Allen, the organization can be confident that its culture is in good hands.

Written by Tony East

Indiana Fever reporter based in Indianapolis. Enjoy a good statistical-based argument.

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