Lynx

Fowles’ Finale & Lynx Free Agency

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“Syl’s going to be the first to go out winning her last game.” With that statement, Cheryl Reeve made it clear that the Minnesota Lynx free agency plan is going all in to win a final championship for the retiring Sylvia Fowles. In a press conference announcing the reigning Defensive Player of the Year as returning for one final season, the Minnesota Head Coach and General Manager made it clear that step one in free agency was to make sure her departing star was compensated well under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement and that she had pieces around her to push for that grand finale.

Where We Are

But there’s a lot of work left to do. The Minnesota Lynx are hard up against the cap and in need of more help to get back to their strengths of last season. One major factor will be the availability of Napheesa Collier who is expecting a child in May, near the start of the season. Coach Reeve recently stated that Collier would not be available “for the better part of the season” so there is expectation that she will play in 2022. However, that also means that the Lynx will be down to 10 players until Collier makes her return.

Some of Collier’s role will be filled by the only new player officially signed to join the Lynx, 5-time All Star Angel McCoughtry. In a recent media availability, McCoughtry stated that she feels good and ready to go after missing all but a very brief appearance in 2021. The Guard-Forward also stated how excited she will be to play in front of what she herself called “the best fans” as she has not played in front of any since 2018. And she’s ready to give all of her energy for Fowles’s final season.

What’s Ahead

Every player from the 2021 Lynx is either under contract or has been reported to be re-signing with the team. But the math does not work out. Even at veteran minimum contracts, there is no possibility that everyone can return. The Lynx do not have enough money under the salary cap, nor do they have enough roster space after the signing of McCoughtry. The Lynx have yet to sign Layshia Clarendon, a player who was instrumental in last season’s success, or hometown-hero Rachel Banham. Reeve’s “Swiss army knife” Bridget Carleton is confirmed to return but only has a training camp contract at this time.

Coach Reeve stays lipped about her plans, but a move must be coming. The Lynx need space and they need some upgrades to their bench. Some upgrades could come naturally from the players already on the roster. The 2020 Rookie of the Year, Crystal Dangerfield, struggled to find the same rhythm in her sophomore season. She had some amazing fourth quarter action yet seem to struggle earlier in games. If she can access more of her Wubble-season self, that becomes an amazing boost. And 2021 rookie, Rennia Davis, missed last season with a stress fracture, returned the court overseas. The Lynx are looking to see how well she does prior to her debut in the WNBA.

All eyes will be on Cheryl Reeve and her next move. Though it will have to wait. As new head coach of Team USA, she is off with players for the upcoming FIBA World Cup Qualifying Tournament. There will be just a few days between training camp ending on February 7th and the start of the tournament on February 10th. So Lynx fans should be circling those dates for possible action.

About Corbitt Harrell

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