WNBA Free Agency: Fever add Julie Allemand of Belgium, eagerly await the 2020 draft

Lyon ASVEL Feminin v Basket Lattes Montpellier - Euroleague Women Julie Allemand as seen during 2020 EuroLeague Women Basketball play on Jan. 28, 2020. | Photo by Romain Biard/Icon Sport via Getty Images

The Indiana Fever hope Julie Allemand will back up Erica Wheeler with her distributing talent, while team vice president and general manager Tamika Catchings hopes to build around Kelsey Mitchell through the 2020 WNBA Draft.

The Indiana Fever woke up a dormant free agency stretch with the signing of Belgium native Julie Allemand, a point guard for the Lyon ASVEL in EuroLeague Women. The team announced on Monday that Allemand has been signed to a multi-year contract but did not reveal any further details per team policy.

Allemand was selected by the Fever at No. 33 overall in the 2016 WNBA Draft and went on to play overseas for Royal Castors Braine of Belgium.

She is now in her third year with Lyon ASVEL of France.

The Fever already have a starting point guard in Erica Wheeler, who averaged 10.1 points and 5.0 assists last year, and won the All-Star Game MVP award. But vice president of basketball operations and general manager Tamika Catchings believes Allemand will make an impact.

Catchings stated in the team’s press release:

We’re excited to welcome Julie to our team. Julie has continued to develop her point guard skills with the Belgium national team. Her overseas endeavors will make her an instrumental player for our team.

Allemand has yet to play in a WNBA game but she has put up solid numbers (8.1 points, 5.4 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.3 steals) for Lyon this season. She also averaged 10.0 points, 5.3 assists and 3.0 rebounds for the Belgian national team over the course of three qualifying games for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which Belgium successfully won.

Indiana has had a quiet free agency period. On Feb. 14, the team re-signed Tiffany Mitchell and Betnijah Laney. On Feb. 19, the Fever signed 6-foot-10 center Bernadett Határ of Hungary, who plays for Hungarian team Uniqa Sopron in EuroLeague Women.

Mitchell has played her entire four-year career in Indiana and last season averaged 9.7 points while coming off the bench more frequently than starting. She was the team’s fifth-best scorer behind Kelsey Mitchell (13.6 points), Candice Dupree (11.6 points), Wheeler and 6-foot-7 rookie Teaira McCowan (10.0 points apiece).

Laney, meanwhile, started 27 games and averaged 5.6 points and 4.2 rebounds per contest.

The Fever return Kelsey Mitchell, Dupree and McCowan from a team that went 13-21 in 2019 and missed the playoffs.

Wheeler and Dupree (an aging legend who is sixth all-time in WNBA scoring) were the two Fever representatives at the 2019 WNBA All-Star Game. But Kelsey Mitchell is the one poised to have a breakout season and become an even bigger star than she is already — potentially one who can put the team on her back. But the third-year player will need a solid supporting cast and McCowan likely will play a bigger role this year to help out.

The 2020 WNBA Draft is going to be critical for Indiana, which has the No. 3 overall pick. The Fever could bring on an all-around talent like Megan Walker of the UConn Huskies or hope the Dallas Wings don’t select Satou Sabally at No. 2, leaving the Oregon Ducks star to be picked third.

Határ, 25, has the height to form a lethal duo with McCowan in the post but she hasn’t put up monster numbers overseas. So, Lauren Cox of the Baylor Lady Bears and Ruthy Hebard of Oregon also would be tempting options. The 6-foot-4 Cox already has experience playing with a taller frontcourt from when she played with 6-foot-7 Kalani Brown at Baylor.