April 10, 2022
Lynx trade picks No. 8 and 13 to Aces: What it means for Minnesota
The Lynx's training camp roster is currently full and the team needs to part with roughly $130,000 to duck back under the salary cap
The Minnesota Lynx made their first move to solidify their roster heading into the 2022 season when they traded the Nos. 8 and 13 picks in Monday’s draft to the Las Vegas Aces in exchange for the Aces’ first and second-round picks next year. Minnesota retains the 22nd and 28th overall picks, which head coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve recently stated would be used for maximizing the training camp roster.
Trading out both of their first two picks was among the plethora of options available to the Lynx as they attempted to pare down their roster for one last playoff push with star center Sylvia Fowles . And it was the one they ultimately decided was in their best interest both in the short and long-term.
“We believe this year’s draft is a good draft, however, with the players that we currently have under contract and the limited roster space remaining, we made the decision to turn our attention to future opportunities,” Reeve stated in a press release announcing the trade.
The Lynx’s training camp roster is currently full and the team needs to part with roughly $130,000 to duck back under the salary cap before their first regular-season game. The team isn’t done making moves, though when their roster will be finalized is up in the air.
“We’re probably going to be having discussions about our salary cap all the way up until the roster deadline,” Reeve told the media during her pre-draft press conference on Friday. “We’re gonna be very open-minded… We’re gonna let the competition sort of solve that for us.”
Minnesota currently has nine athletes on its roster with unprotected contracts, including Rachel Banham, Bridget Carleton, Layshia Clarendon, Napheesa Collier, Crystal Dangerfield, Rennia Davis, and Jessica Shepard. In addition, Collier is expected to miss most of the 2022 season as she is expecting her first child. And her contract will remain on the books as per the collective bargaining agreement. Reeve has also stated in the past that her team would carry 11 athletes on their roster, including Collier.
While they could trade Natalie Achonwa in exchange for unprotected salaries and/or future draft capital to clear $160,000 from the books, Sunday afternoon’s trade figures to make moving on from her less likely.
Therefore, according to HerHoopsStats, after accounting for their six guaranteed contracts, the Lynx have $367,516 in cap space to spread around at least five players who make the regular-season roster. Assuming Collier and Clarendon make the team—virtual guarantees—that leaves them room for $205,375 to be spent on three of the following players:
- Rachel Banham, $72,141
- Bridget Carleton, $72,141
- Yvonne Turner, $72,141
- Crystal Dangerfield, $67,042
- Rennia Davis, $65,664
- Natasha Mack, $60,471
- Jessica Shepard, $60,471
- 2022 Pick 22, $63,389
- 2022 Pick 28, $60,471
Also of note, Minnesota can’t roster more than two of the players at or above Dangerfield’s salary without additional moves.
The direction that the Lynx will ultimately take is unclear at the moment. But what can be said with certainty is that the team isn’t done making moves. Right now, it’s all just a waiting game.
Jacob Mox contributed to the reporting of this story.
Written by Lucas Seehafer
Lucas Seehafer has served as The Next's Minnesota Lynx beat writer since 2022. He is also a physical therapist practicing in southern Minnesota. His work has previously appeared at Baseball Prospectus, Forbes, FanSided, and various other websites.