We still have yet to arrive at the Feb. 1 signing date for players to ink contracts with WNBA teams, but there is plenty of movement starting to take place around the league.
As Russell Crowe asked in the movie Gladiator, “Are you not entertained?”
The Minnesota Lynx are part of that movement in a big way.
Heading into the offseason with roughly $393,500 available in cap space – which also equates to two max contracts ($190,000) – the Lynx agreed to terms with free agent Kayla McBride on Wednesday, who was viewed as one of the top free agents available. The three-time WNBA All-Star will be inserted right into the Lynx starting lineup, providing Minnesota with some much-needed offensive firepower from anywhere on the floor.
The moves didn’t stop there, however. On Thursday, Howard Megdal of The Next Hoops reported Minnesota was in talks with guard/forward Aerial Powers, which was later confirmed by Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, who reported the two sides agreed to a deal.
“Right now, it’s only right that I sign with the Lynx. I’m ready to win another championship,” Powers told Yahoo Sports. “I’m excited to be coached by Cheryl Reeve. I’m excited to bring a championship home to the midwest, where I’m from Detroit. What’s up Minnesota Lynx fans. I’m ready to do my thing and team up with Sylvia Fowles, Kayla McBride and the Rookie of the Year Crystal Dangerfield. This is just the beginning.”
Powers, 27, will add to the guard and wing group on the Lynx roster and provide Minnesota with a player who can give a nice boost offensively, much like McBride. Powers has spent five seasons in the WNBA, the last few with the Washington Mystics. Over her career, she’s averaged 10.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 0.8 steals per game, also holding career shooting marks of 40.4% from the field, 34.3% from three and 84.7% from the free throw line.
Later on Thursday, Doug Feinberg of The Associated Press reported Minnesota had agreed to terms on a contract with post Natalie Achonwa, a move that provides some depth to the Lynx behind Sylvia Fowles, Damiris Dantas, and others.
Achonwa, 28, has spent the entirety of her six-year WNBA career with the Indiana Fever, averaging 7.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game, shooting 52.6% from the field and 80% from the free throw line. She appeared in 18 games in 2020, averaging 7.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game.
Lynx head coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve and her staff appear to be all-in for the 2021 season with those additions.
|Projected 2021 Minnesota Lynx Roster|
|Starter||Crystal Dangerfield||Aerial Powers||Kayla McBride||Napheesa Collier||Sylvia Fowles|
|Bench||Odyssey Sims||Rachel Banham||Bridget Carleton||Damiris Dantas||Natalie Achonwa|
|Bench||Lexie Brown||Jessica Shepard||Mikiah Herbert Harrigan|
|*Regular season rosters are limited to a maximum of 12 players*|
Last year the Lynx were the 4-seed in the playoffs, reached the semifinal round, and had plenty of cap space entering this offseason. Minnesota could have signed two maximum contract players, but they look like they have landed one max player in McBride and split the rest of the cap between Powers and Achonwa.
Minnesota has complemented their core of Crystal Dangerfield, Napheesa Collier, and Fowles by adding players who are still relatively young to fill some needs that were present throughout 2020.
While other teams in the league have also been aggressive in adding some players in free agency — most notably the Chicago Sky signing Candace Parker and the Las Vegas Aces adding Chelsea Gray — the Lynx have taken a page out of the same book in acting fast with the official free agent signing period less than a week away.
With these three free agent signings, the Lynx will likely be done signing players, but they could still trade away some players or picks before the regular season begins. However, with this impressive offseason, one thing is for certain: Minnesota appears to be all-in in trying to battle for possible championship contention this summer in hopes of putting together another successful season and making a deeper postseason run.