Latta returns after two consecutive All-Star seasons in D.C. and is now officially a long-term piece for the Mystics’ rebuild.
On Tuesday, the Washington Mystics announced that they have signed Latta to a multi-year extension. In a press release, General Manager and Head Coach Mike Thibault said the following:
I am very happy to announce a contract extension for Ivory Latta. Ivory has been a big part of the turnaround for our organization. She was the first free agent I recruited when I took this job. Her skill level and her energy have helped us grow over the past two seasons into a team that can contend in the Eastern Conference. She has continued to grow as a player and a person and I look forward to her being an important part of the Mystics for the next several years.
Latta also added this statement:
It is my honor and privilege to be able to play for the Washington Mystics. I am dedicated to the organization and am very excited about the upcoming season.
Latta signed with the team on a two-year contract as an unrestricted free agent in the 2012-13 offseason as Mike Thibault’s first major signing to kick off his time in D.C. Since then, that move has paid dividends as the 5’6 guard showed that she could play a starting role on a playoff team, where she made two consecutive All-Star teams and the Mystics made two consecutive playoff appearances. Before playing in Washington, Latta played for the Detroit/Tulsa Shock (2007, 2010-2012), and the Atlanta Dream from 2008-2009.
The Mystics’ signing of Latta also shows that they are now rewarding her with a long term contract after two great seasons. There’s definitely a good reason for that. Latta’s happy to be in Washington, and Thibault wants a veteran leader on the team right away as he tries to right the ship. When players do a good job for a team, it is also a good business practice to reward them, which is exactly what this signing is about.
As you might expect, I disagree with the Mystics re-signing Latta to a long term deal. I do agree that Latta has done great things in Washington and I like her style of play. But she’s not going to improve substantially over the next several years based on her talent, as opposed to the rest of the roster which is considerably younger.
Along with the signing of Armintie Herrington earlier Tuesday, this pretty much tells us that either Bria Hartley, Tayler Hill or perhaps both of them will not have expanded roles this season. But more importantly, it also is a message that Thibault believes that he can do more with this team in 2015 besides wait for the 2016 Draft.
Again, I have no problem with Latta back in Washington, and I would have been ecstatic about her re-signing if Hartley was never playing for this team. However, the Mystics have her and Hill, and they can’t be in limited roles for the foreseeable future.