“I think I was supposed to be here. It’s like home. … I really couldn’t see myself anywhere else.”
Less than two years ago, Seimone Augustus commented on her time with the Minnesota Lynx as she and others in the organization talked about what Augustus has meant to the franchise.
A season ago, in 2019, Augustus announced that the 2020 season would likely be her final year playing in the WNBA. At that time, she still planned to finish out her historic career in the same place and with the same team where it all started after being drafted No. 1 overall by the Lynx in 2006.
“There’s this really, really deep appreciation for Seimone’s commitment to this organization,” Lynx head coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve told the media as recently as 2018 on what Augustus has meant to Minnesota. “I can’t say enough about her loyalty. She’s had opportunities along the way where maybe early on when we weren’t winning as much, maybe she might want to be somewhere else.”
For the last 14 seasons, Minnesota has been home for Augustus. It’s the place where she broke into the league, showcased her lethal and trademark crossover, won multiple WNBA Championships, became the franchise’s all-time leading scorer and won over the hearts of an entire state and fan base.
But in 2020, still likely her last season, Augustus will have a new home.
On Thursday, Augustus sent shockwaves through Minnesota, the Lynx fan base and the entire WNBA when it was announced she had decided to sign with the Los Angeles Sparks for the 2020 campaign.
Many were confident that Augustus, an unrestricted free agent, would return to Minnesota this summer while continuing to help lead the Lynx through a transitional period following a dominant dynasty run over the last near-decade.
Instead, Augustus will be taking her talents to Los Angeles and will be sporting a new uniform for the first time in her professional career, joining the Lynx’s biggest rival.
A Lynx Legend
Throughout the existence of the Lynx franchise since their inception in 1999, Augustus has arguably had a larger impact on the Minnesota organization than any other player.
While already going down as one of the best players to ever wear a Minnesota uniform, the Lynx legend leaves the only WNBA team she has ever played for, having experienced endless success while donning the blue, white and grey No. 33 jersey.
Coming out of LSU in 2006, Augustus’ journey in Minnesota began when she was selected with the first overall pick in that year’s draft. Shortly after, she began making her mark on the WNBA.
While immediately emerging as a leading scorer for the Lynx during the first handful of years of her career, the early seasons were a roller coaster for Augustus and Minnesota. Numerous seasons ended with below-.500 records and no playoff appearances.
In 2010, however, everything changed for Augustus and the Lynx with the additions of Reeve, Lindsay Whalen, Rebekkah Brunson and others. With the following years included the additional acquisitions of Maya Moore and Sylvia Fowles, Augustus was a part of a franchise that was in the beginning stages of creating a dynasty.
By the end of her time with the Lynx, Augustus was named to seven All-WNBA Teams, won four WNBA titles and made eight All-Star appearances. She also emerged as the franchise’s all-time leading scorer, rising up numerous other statistical categories along the way.
Augustus leaves Minnesota ranking first in franchise history in total points (5,881), field goals made (2,401), games played (370), games started (365) and minutes played (10,918). She also ranks fourth in both total rebounds (1,191) and points per game (15.9). Over her career, she averaged 15.9 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game in a total of 370 regular season contests.
Going into the 2020 season, Augustus ranks 11th all-time in the WNBA in scoring, sitting just 119 points away from surpassing the 6,000-career point mark which would move her into the top 10 in league history. She also ranks sixth in league history in field goals made and is 20th in minutes played.
We will never see another player in franchise history wear that No. 33 jersey.
And although her time with the Lynx has come to a surprising end here in 2020, those accolades and successes over the years will forever remain.
“Thank You, Minnesota”
After the surprising news became official on Thursday, Augustus took to social media to express her thanks to the Lynx organization and the fans for her time in Minnesota.
On her Instagram, Augustus shared pictures from her career with the Lynx and wrote a thank you post recapping her 14-year tenure in Minnesota.
Shortly after that post, the Lynx organization released a pair of statements by owner Glen Taylor as well as Reeve, acknowledging Augustus’ decision to leave Minnesota while thanking her for her time with the Lynx.
“Since 2006, Seimone has given the Lynx franchise countless thrilling moments on the court and has had an enormous impact in our community,” Reeve said in the statement. “Coaching Seimone Augustus was one of the greatest joys of my coaching life and I wish her the best as she says goodbye, for now, to the Twin Cities.”
Taylor’s comments mirrored that of Reeve’s, while also adding that the organization will one day retire her No. 33 Lynx jersey to join Lindsay Whalen’s No. 13 and Rebekkah Brunson’s No. 32 (which will be retired this summer) in the Target Center rafters.
“I would like to thank Seimone for all the great memories she provided us and our fans while she wore the Lynx uniform. I will always cherish our time together and all that we accomplished, both on and off the floor,” Taylor said. “We wish her well in this next chapter of her career and we look forward to seeing her number in the rafters of Target Center in the future.”
It’s clear that the decision to leave the Lynx wasn’t an easy one for Augustus. For the last 14 seasons, it’s ultimately been home for the Lynx legend.
But in 2020, she will have a new home with the Sparks as she attempts to make a run at another WNBA title before ultimately calling it a career.
“Thank You Minnesota for shaping and molding me into the woman I am today,” she wrote in her Instagram post. “As tears flow, like the Mississippi River runs from Baton Rouge to the heart of Minneapolis, know that you will always be a part of me.”