Lynx

Lynx Mailbag: WNBA Offseason Edition!

(image credit: screenshot from WNBA on YouTube)

Now that the 2019 WNBA season is officially in the books, the offseason ahead of the 2020 campaign is officially underway.

With the Washington Mystics beating the Connecticut Sun 3-2 in the best-of-five WNBA Finals to grab their first league championship in franchise history, that entertaining finish to the season put a cap on another summer in the WNBA.

The league will be entering its 24th year of existence in 2020 when another season kicks off in May. But before that date approaches, upcoming events in the WNBA will include the start of free agency in January and February and the Draft in the spring.

With numerous players now heading overseas to begin their seasons with teams out of the country, the WNBA offseason is in full swing.

With the 2019 season now over and the offseason among us, let’s take a dive into some questions you submitted surrounding the Lynx and the league in general in this special offseason edition of the Lynx mailbag.

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As many people know by now, Lynx wing Maya Moore announced in February that she would be sitting out the 2019 WNBA season to focus more on things in her life outside of basketball that are important to her, including family and ministry.

More specifically, Moore has been focused on serving as an advocate and public voice surrounding criminal justice reform and most notably the case of Johnathan Irons.

Irons is an inmate that Moore met nearly 10 years ago through a prison ministry outreach program in her hometown of Jefferson City, Mo. Irons is currently serving a 50-year prison sentence after being charged with a non-fatal shooting near St. Louis, a crime that both Irons and Moore believe he was wrongly convicted of.

Moore decided prior to the start of the 2019 WNBA campaign that she would put her Hall-of-Fame caliber basketball career on hold to focus more on these topics that serve great importance in her life, leaving Minnesota without its star player for the entirety of the 2019 summer.

When Moore announced she would be sitting out the season to focus on aspects of her life outside of basketball, the star player left the door open for both a return to the Lynx in the future, while not exactly shutting down rumors that she could even consider stepping away from basketball for good.

Since that announcement from Moore last February, she hasn’t publicly expressed her plans for the 2020 season and if she plans to return to the WNBA and Minnesota when the new year commences.

If I had to guess whether or not Moore will return to the Lynx in 2020, my initial suspicion would be that she will once again take the year off similar to what she did this past summer. Since she is now heavily involved and interested in the case surrounding Irons full-time while stepping away from basketball in the meantime, it’s hard to imagine Moore shifting her main focus back to basketball with a return to the court until the Irons case comes to a final decision.

If Moore would return to the Lynx in 2020, it would obviously be a big boost to Minnesota in hopes of returning to a championship-contending squad once again. But as of now and until we hear anything from Moore surrounding a potential return, my guess is we won’t see her return to the court for the Lynx when the new year kicks off in May.

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Kristi Wraspir: Who are some of the most interesting free agent prospects this upcoming season?

As the offseason gets underway, looking at potential free agent prospects and who will hit the open market when the new calendar year flips over is an intriguing aspect to dive into.

When it comes to some of the players that are currently set to be free agents ahead of the 2020 campaign, there are a decent number of high-quality players included in that list.

According to sportrac.com’s list of upcoming free agents, some of those high-quality and high-caliber players include Phoenix’s DeWanna Bonner, Chicago’s Allie Quigley, Atlanta’s Angel McCoughtry, Los Angeles’ Chelsea Gray, Dallas’ Skylar Diggins-Smith, Washington’s Kristi Toliver and many more. Those are just a few of the possible names on the list that might be available.

To view the full list of upcoming free agents, according to spotrac.com, click here.

When it comes to players that are set to hit the market on the Lynx roster, those players include Seimone Augustus, Danielle Robinson, Temi Fagbenle, Kelsey Griffin, Jillian Alleyne and Bridget Carleton, according to the website.

If there is a position that I am keeping an eye on when it comes to free agency this year and how Minnesota could potentially go about attacking the open market of players, I am keeping an eye on the point guard position. It will be likely that, depending on what type of a deal they can agree to, that Robinson would return to the Lynx in 2020, but Minnesota could look to add another guard to the mix either as a starter in place of Robinson or as a key player coming off the bench.

As free agency gets closer and an official list of free agent players is released by the WNBA, we will have a better understanding of what could be out there for the Lynx and who they could potentially go after when that period kicks off at the start of the new calendar year.

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As I mentioned in the last question above, one position to watch and keep a close eye on throughout the course of the offseason for Minnesota is the point guard position and what the organization decides to do with its guard personnel.

In the postseason especially, the Lynx guards didn’t exactly perform up to the level that we have been used to seeing out of guards on Minnesota’s roster in years past, and that was one of the things that fed into the Lynx being bounced by the Seattle Storm in the opening round of the playoffs.

The two primary guards this season for Minnesota was Danielle Robinson and Odyssey Sims, with some assistance from Lexie Brown coming off the bench. When it comes to a main ball handler, offense initiator and true point guard, Robinson was mainly that player while Sims and Brown have the ability to offer assistance if needed.

It’s clear that the Lynx will need another player that has the ability to be a primary ball handler and true ball handler to pair with Robinson, if she does indeed re-sign as a free agent to return to the organization next summer.

Dallas Wings guard Skylar Diggins-Smith is an intriguing option to add to the point guard mix in Minnesota and could be an avenue the Lynx look down when free agency begins. She would likely take the place of Robinson in the starting lineup, resulting in Robinson moving back to the second unit, a role she had when Lindsay Whalen was still playing for Minnesota.

Diggins-Smith has publicly expressed some frustration with the Wings already this offseason, and that mixed with the fact that Dallas drafted guard Arike Ogunbowale in last April’s WNBA Draft could result in the two sides parting ways ahead of the 2020 season.

There will likely be a decent amount of point guards and guards in general that fill the free agent market once again this offseason, and you’d imagine that the Lynx look down that road to potentially add to their roster prior to the new year.

That will do it for this offseason edition of the Lynx mailbag. As always, thanks for submitting your questions and for reading, Lynx fans. Enjoy the start of the offseason while gearing up for yet another season in 2020.

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(image credit: screenshot from WNBA on YouTube)

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