The transaction-heavy offseason for the Minnesota Lynx continued on Monday, with the team trading away a veteran guard and a few other assets to the Indiana Fever.
On Monday afternoon, Rachel Galligan of Winsidr reported the Lynx agreed to trade guard Odyssey Sims to the Fever along with the rights to Temi Fagbenle, a 2022 first-round draft pick, and a 2022 third-round draft pick in exchange for a 2022 second-round draft pick from Indiana. The team later confirmed the trade, making it official.
Galligan also reported the Fever plan to waive Sims, taking on her $119,000 contract for 2021 while allowing the veteran guard to hit the free agent market and look to join another team ahead of the new year.
Minnesota was expected to move on from one of its six protected salaries currently on the roster, making way for Aerial Powers to join the lineup after Powers and the Lynx agreed to terms on a free agent deal earlier in February. Sims was long viewed as the leading candidate to be traded from Minnesota to create the room needed.
Sims’ departure from the Lynx concludes a two-year stretch in Minnesota after the team traded for her from the Los Angeles Sparks ahead of the 2019 season. In her first year with the Lynx, Sims had an All-Star season, the first of her career.
Last year Sims managed to play in 13 games for the Lynx in the bubble in Florida, but her appearances were limited as she battled back into game shape following the birth of her first child. The guard ended up starting in seven of those 13 contests, averaging 9.4 points, 3.5 assists, and two rebounds in 18.5 minutes per game.
At first glance, it appears as though the Sims trade was very one-sided in favor of the Fever.
Indiana sent away a 2022 second-round draft pick in exchange for two players and a first- and third-round pick in 2022. But there is more to why Minnesota needed to give up so much in this deal.
First of all, the team that ended up receiving Sims would also be taking on her $119,000 contract, regardless of whether or not she ended up playing for that team. In this case, the Fever will reportedly waive Sims but will still owe the full amount on her contract this season as she potentially plays elsewhere.
From the Lynx’s perspective, this was a trade that needed to be made, and they had to throw in some sweeteners to convince another team to take on Sims’ contract. With Minnesota needing to clear one of its protected contracts to officially bring in Powers, which they announced shortly after the Sims trade was made public, that ultimately meant adding a few draft assets to package along with Sims and the rights to Fagbenle.
Although the trade might appear one-sided on the surface, it’s actually a win-win for both teams. Minnesota clears the room it needed and Indiana gets a few more assets to try and build the team via the draft moving forward.
WHY THE MOVE WAS MADE
As we wrote and reported recently here at Zone Coverage, Minnesota would be making at least one more trade to follow up what has already been a busy offseason for Cheryl Reeve and Co.
The only problem with that was Minnesota would then have more than the league maximum of six players with protected contracts. That’s why we saw the McBride and Achonwa deals announced by the team before Monday, but not the Powers signing.
Prior to the Sims trade, Lynx players who held protected contracts included McBride, Achonwa, Sims, Damiris Dantas, Sylvia Fowles, and Karima Christmas-Kelly. In order to clear space for Powers on the roster, one of those players would have to be traded. That left Sims as the odd woman out.
Along with the protected contract aspect of all of this, the trade also makes sense for Minnesota due to the guard rotation suddenly becoming packed after the free agency signings of McBride and Powers. Even without Sims in the mix, the Lynx have a guard rotation featuring Crystal Dangerfield, McBride, Powers, Lexie Brown, and Rachel Banham.
Sims has been a solid component of the Lynx’s rotation since she came over via trade a few years ago, but now the two sides are moving on. Trading her made sense on multiple levels, allowing the team to add a solid player in Powers while also allowing Sims to get a fresh start elsewhere in 2021.