Don’t call Swin Cash a holdout. She’s been contemplating her future for months and what may have appeared an easy decision in September has changed. An unrestricted free agent, Cash was made available prior to her playing in Friday’s celebrity game at the NBA All-Star weekend in Los Angeles. She opened up about why it’s taking her so long to agree to a contract, especially since Storm coach Brian Agler was confident she’d re-sign with the Storm. Cash, who’s won three WNBA titles in her nine seasons, averaged 13.8 points and 6.0 rebounds with Seattle in 2010.
Here she talks about being a free agent and representing the WNBA in LA:
Women’s Hoops Blog: You know my first question, are you re-signing with Seattle? In an interview with coach Brian Agler, who’s also director of player personnel, he expected you to not only re-sign but retire in Seattle.
Swin Cash: Well, where things stand right now is that I haven’t signed a contract with anyone right now and I haven’t heard the comments you’re speaking about in regards to Brian. Obviously being in China makes it hard.
WHB: Why haven’t you signed with anybody?
SC: Because I feel like I need to go through a process in making sure where I wanted to play. Obviously wherever I sign is going to be where I hopefully finish out my career. I’ve only played in two places in Detroit and Seattle and when you’re making a decision, it’s not only affecting you but other people in your life — family, all those things have to come into play when you’re making a decision. It’s not about me. I had to look at it from all different angles from my charitable work organization to me and my personal life.
WHB: Where does the Storm rank then? From reading your posts on Twitter, I understand you had another loss in your family and you’re planning your mother’s wedding, so I’m guessing an Eastern Conference team is in the mix?
SC: It (the death) did prolong me signing because I took some time away and didn’t really speak to anyone because of my family situation and things that happened that are out of our control. I had to focus on family for a little while. I put that behind me and went back to business, getting things reorganized.
WHB: Did you give yourself a deadline to make a decision?
SC: I’m going to speak with my agent later today and we’ll go from there. But I’m not giving myself a certain time. I would like to get it done shortly so that I can move forward with some of the things I had planned with my charity.
WHB: How does being in LA help you with Cash for Kids?
SC: It’s amazing. The first couple of years (of attending the NBA All-Star), you’re just in awe of all of it — being here and the atmosphere. As you get older, it’s more about the contacts, the connections, the networking that you do that helps you not only on the court but off the court. Especially with charitable work. There’s a lot of people and a lot of money that walks into these hotels. So, making those connections are really good. Earlier today (Friday) I went to the tech summit and you’re sitting there with a room full of people estimated at a (worth) billion dollars that are bright and intelligent. Just to be able to be in a room with them is important.
WHB: What’s the latest with your charity?
SC: We have over a 150 kids and we’ve done basketball leagues, but I’ve hired a new person to come in and reorganize the curriculum that we’ve built but to also implement it in the city that I’ll be playing in. That’s why this offseason has been so important to me.
WHB: It’s not all business in LA, what about the glitzy side?
SC: Well, I’m in the car headed getting ready to encompass the (Justin) Beiber Fever right now at the celebrity game. Every year the WNBA has taken our portrait and pictures (above right) and I enjoy doing that. I have another photo shoot on Sunday that we scheduled just for me and for what I’ll be doing in the future in regards to re-launching my website, so it’s a lot of moving around. But I’ve got a short amount of time and needed to get it done. I get back to China on Sunday night.
WHB: Wow. And at least you got your hair done, right?
SC: (Laughs) Yeah, I’m probably the first black girl to get off the plane from China and go directly to the hair salon. And I’m proud of it!
WHB: You know you’re not the first. Y’all do that in-season.
SC: This is true. This is true.
WHB: With the Beiber Fever, are you a fan of his music?
SC: I’m kind of calm with it. I am interested to see how many young girls rush the court and try to grab Beiber. I don’t know I’m gonna have to be security or not, but I can play that role. I’m a fan of some of the other artists. I’m a fan of Common, I really enjoy his music. I’ve seen him a few times. My sister has called me a million times about trey songz and I guess she’s very upset that I didn’t bring her out here once he was announced on my team, so I may have to take a picture just for her. Other than that, I’m just having a good time and tonight we’ll go hang out with all of the (WNBA) ladies.
WHB: How is China going?
SC: It’s going really well. Our team finished the regular season second in the league. The playoffs start next Saturday, so we’ll be the No. 2 seed. The culture has been really great. Actually a sponsor of my team actually owns some property in Seattle and he’s involved with the NBA in regards to building a school in China. It’s good to be around people who understand basketball and the growth, not only in men’s but in women’s.
WHB: And you’re learning Mandarin?
SC: After being around my teammates and speaking a few words, I’ve decided that I might start taking a few classes. It’s very hard, but it’s so funny, my teammates and translator have been telling me you have to have a tone for the pitch. One word can mean four different things depending on how you say it. I guess when I repeat words back, they said I pick it up well. That was pretty encouraging, so I said I’d give it a shot. When I think of the growth of that economy, reading China Daily all the time, it’s booming.
WHB: So, you leave Sunday and maybe something WNBA-wise could be signed, but you’re not giving yourself a deadline?
SC: Nope. I’m not giving myself a deadline. I apologize, I know the fans in Seattle and different places…I don’t want people to think I’m a holdout or anything like that. This is my choice and my decision. It’s not one I needed to make just for myself. My responsibility to other people and my situation has to come first, that’s all. I’m doing the best that I can.