The WNBA ended speculation that the Sacramento Monarchs would relocate to the Bay Area, preserving the league’s 13 teams. Instead, the Monarchs will completely fold and the WNBA will hold a dispersal draft for their players on Monday.
“A number of potential investors have come forward and expressed interest in relocating the Monarchs to the Bay Area, a market that we continue to see as desirable,” said WNBA president Donna Orender in a released statement. “Ultimately, we made the judgment that we would not be able to complete a transaction in time for a successful new-market launch in 2010. We will therefore focus our energy on adding a team in the Bay Area for the 2011 campaign.”
The Storm has the 10th pick. But since league assist-leader Ticha Penicheiro announced via Twitter, a social-networking site, that she will not play elsewhere and teammates Kara Lawson and Hamchetou Maiga-Ba are unrestricted free agents, there might not be a player for the Storm to select.
Teams do have the option of passing, which could open up a possibility for the Storm. Australian guard Renae Camino, who Sacramento owned the rights to, is expected to be part of the dispersal draft if she chooses to play.
Seattle coach/director of player personnel Brian Agler said he was analyzing every scenario in an interview on Sunday. His team needs solid backcourt help to advance, along with a healthy Lauren Jackson. The Storm appears to be big players in the free agent pool, again, with Lawson and former Detroit guard Katie Smith available.
Smith told ESPN she would not relocate with her team to Tulsa.
While Sacramento’s demise looks bad, shrinking the league to 12 teams, the WNBA tried to put a positive spin in stating it would look into expanding the league in the Bay Area for 2011. Well, they said the same about Houston and Portland and look what happened.
In other WNBA news today, former Detroit assistant coach Cheryl Reeve is expected to be named coach of Minnesota this afternoon. Interim coach Jen Gillom didn’t accept a contract in order to accept the open post in Los Angeles, according to a source.
Minnesota will hold a press conference at noon.
UPDATE: It’s official, Reeve is coach.