WNBA free agency doesn’t open until Friday, but teams and players are already thinking and making deals. Minnesota is in the midst of a full makeover, already announcing Cheryl Reeve as coach. This afternoon the Lynx announced the trade of PG Rene Montgomery and the No. 1 overall pick in April’s draft to Connecticut for the No. 2 pick and acquisition of first-child Lindsay Whalen, who starred at the University of Minnesota.
“Now it’s our job not to screw this up,” said Reeve in the press conference.
The deal will help both teams in a myriad of ways. Not only do both get what they need in talent, they get marketing gems for their areas that should help ticket sales. The Sun are expected to use the top-overall pick to select C Tina Charles, who’s currently in the midst of another undefeated season at the University of Connecticut. She won last season’s NCAA title with Montgomery.
In Seattle, Storm CEO Karen Bryant said she’s been in contact with two-time MVP Lauren Jackson, who signed a one-year deal in 2009. Jackson is currently playing in her native Australia, rehabilitating from stress fractures in her lower back. She’s an unrestricted free agent, but said before leaving the Storm in September that she’d sign a two-year deal with Seattle when contracts could be signed. That’s now Feb. 1
Teammate Janell Burse is still questioning her future, however. Because of schedules, she hasn’t spoken with coach Brian Agler, who’s also director of player personnel. But the concerns she has about being given a fair opportunity to contribute — even as a backup — will need to be discussed.
Burse hasn’t asked her agent to make any trade demands.
“It’s not a bitter feeling or anything like that, it’s more of what’s going to be my best interests?” said Burse via phone from Poland. “But I haven’t spoken with Brian since I left Seattle and I haven’t really talked to my agent about what we should trying to work on right now.
“This is the time that a lot of players don’t come back [overseas] after Christmas and [agents] are signing a lot of players. So, I know he’s busy with that. But I don’t want to wait too long.”
One of the players swapping overseas squads is G Tanisha Wright, who signed with Lotos Gdynia in Poland on Sunday. Now she’s in the same league as Burse. Wright played in Cyprus with Storm teammate Camille Little, but those contracts ended after the holiday break.
Little has yet to pick-up another overseas team.
Center Ashley Robinson is the Storm’s only other unrestricted free agent. Everyone else is either under contract or a restricted free agent, meaning they’ll have to negotiate with Seattle first. But C Suzy Batkovic-Brown, who’s “reserved” by the Storm, is questionable to return due to possibly starting a family, according to Bryant.
Batkovic-Brown is playing is Australia.