WNBA Offseason Overview/Preseason Preview: New York Liberty

Current roster certainties and virtual certainties:

PG: Kelly Miller/Leilani Mitchell

SG: Cappie Pondexter/Essence Carson

SF: Nicole Powell/Alex Montgomery

PF: Plenette Pierson/(Quanitra Hollingsworth)

C: Kia Vaughn/Kara Braxton

Fighting for the remaining one or two spots: DeMya Walker, Kelley Cain, Raffaella Masciadri, Sydney Colson, various other people the Libs haven’t bothered to tell anyone about.

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It was pretty quiet for the Liberty and their fans through most of the offseason. They re-signed Leilani Mitchell and added veteran Kelly Miller to help her at the point, which should keep Cappie Pondexter at shooting guard a little more consistently this season (although “Cappie, do something” will likely still be the solitary crunch-time play). They also eventually re-signed key backup Essence Carson, although it took a while and some of the fans were becoming a little nervous.

Then everything got a little weird. Continue reading

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WNBA Offseason Overview/Preseason Preview: Indiana Fever

Current roster certainties and virtual certainties:

PG: Briann January/Erin Phillips

SG: Shavonte Zellous/Jeanette Pohlen

SF: Katie Douglas

PF: Tamika Catchings

C: Tammy Sutton-Brown/Jessica Davenport

OR

PG: Briann January/Erin Phillips

SG: Katie Douglas/Shavonte Zellous

SF: Tamika Catchings/Jeanette Pohlen

PF: ?

C: Tammy Sutton-Brown/Jessica Davenport

Fighting for the remaining three spots: Shyra Ely, Roneeka Hodges, Shannon Bobbitt, Sasha Goodlett, Erlana Larkins, La’Tangela Atkinson

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For a team that made very few changes during the offseason, there are still several question marks heading into training camp for the Fever. They kept point guard Erin Phillips by matching a restricted free agent offer sheet she signed with Phoenix, then traded last year’s starting power forward Tangela Smith to San Antonio for Roneeka Hodges. That was about it for meaningful offseason activity. Smith had a thoroughly terrible season in Indiana last year, and they traded her away to dump what had quickly become an ugly-looking contract, but it leaves a hole. Continue reading

WNBA Offseason Overview/Preseason Preview: Connecticut Sun

Current roster certainties and virtual certainties:

PG: Renee Montgomery/Kara Lawson

SG: Kalana Greene/Tan White/Allison Hightower

SF: Danielle McCray

PF: Asjha Jones/Kelsey Griffin

C: Tina Charles/Mistie Bass

Fighting for the final roster spot: Sidney Spencer, Jessica Breland, Dawn Evans, Chay Shegog

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Well this one’s dull. Sun head coach Mike Thibault is so convinced that his roster is all set and that no one could break into his rotation that he used the 9th pick in the draft on a Malian 19-year old playing in the French second division. Free agency produced forward/center Mistie Bass as a serviceable replacement for Jessica Moore to back up the post players, and WNBA running joke Sidney Spencer. The last time Spencer had any real success on a WNBA floor was in her rookie year in 2007, but somebody’s going to have to fill that 11th spot on this roster and it could easily end up being her.

That’s about it. Sorry Sun fans, but when your team basically does nothing in the offseason, there’s not much to write about in a wrap-up.

WNBA Offseason Overview/Preseason Preview: Chicago Sky

Current roster certainties and virtual certainties:

PG: Ticha Penicheiro/Courtney Vandersloot

SG: Epiphanny Prince/Shay Murphy

SF: Swin Cash/Sonja Petrovic/Tamera Young

PF: Le’coe Willingham

C: Sylvia Fowles/Ruth Riley

Fighting for the final roster spot (or maybe to beat out Young, Murphy or Petrovic): Carolyn Swords, Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton, Felicia Chester, Shey Peddy

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Well, being in Russia coaching Spartak Vidnoje certainly didn’t hinder coach Pokey Chatman’s WNBA activity this offseason. They made a big splash early, turning the #2 overall pick in the draft into Swin Cash and Le’coe Willingham in a deal with Seattle. The addition of proven veterans continued in free agency, as point guard Ticha Penicheiro and center Ruth Riley were both brought into the fold. Chatman also made a deal with San Antonio for the rights to Serbian forward Sonja Petrovic, who’s been playing for her at Spartak, and even she could be a useful addition if she can adapt to the WNBA game.

The Sky have lost the likes of Erin Thorn, Dominique Canty and Michelle Snow from last year’s squad, but the players they’ve added give the roster a much stronger, deeper look. Continue reading

WNBA Offseason Overview/Preseason Preview: Atlanta Dream

With training camps underway across the WNBA and the preseason schedule tipping off on Saturday afternoon, it’s time for WNBAlien to take a look at what everyone got up to in the offseason. From trades to free agent signings, draft selections to injuries, Olympic absentees to the battles for roster spots, this is your team-by-team catch-up for what you might’ve missed over those long months between W seasons. We’ll also take a look at what each team might still be trying to work out during training camp before the real games begin on May 18th. Sticking with WNBAlien tradition, it’s Eastern Conference first, in alphabetical order, then the West.


Atlanta Dream

Current Roster certainties and virtual certainties:

PG: Lindsey Harding/Ketia Swanier

SG: Armintie Price/Coco Miller

SF: Angel McCoughtry/Tiffany Hayes

PF: Sancho Lyttle/Cathrine Kraayeveld

C: (Erika de Souza)/Yelena Leuchanka

Fighting for the remaining one or two spots: Courtney Paris, Aneika Henry, Laurie Koehn (I’m not going to be listing every random training camp invitee for every team)

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It’s not been the greatest of offseasons for the Dream. It started with assistant coach Carol Ross being stolen away by the Sparks to take over in LA, followed by backup point guard Shalee Lehning announcing that the knee injury that ended her 2011 season would in fact mark the end of her WNBA career, and backup post Alison Bales also deciding to retire from the WNBA. Brazilians Erika de Souza and Iziane Castro Marques will spend at least the first half of the season with the Brazilian national team preparing for the London Olympics. Erika was re-signed and is expected in Atlanta following the Games; Castro Marques remains an unrestricted free agent.

Free agency didn’t exactly result in a deluge of additions or improvements either. Continue reading

Grading the Trade: Hornbuckle Finds a Home

The Minnesota Lynx signed-and-traded Alexis Hornbuckle to the Phoenix Mercury for a 2013 second-round draft pick.

The first signing of the true free agency period turned out to also be a trade. Exactly why it turned out to be a trade, your guess is as good as mine. There’s no way that Alexis Hornbuckle was going to be playing for the Minnesota Lynx in 2012. They had only three free agents left, all restricted, and Hornbuckle played the fewest minutes of the three last year. They’ve also got six draft picks, including the #3 overall selection, and the only open roster spots are going to be created by the departure of those free agents. Hornbuckle was gone.

She was especially gone at the inflated contract number Phoenix threw at her. With Temeka Johnson traded away, Marie Ferdinand-Harris an unrestricted free agent (and not particularly good), and Penny Taylor’s status for next season up in the air thanks to the Olympics, Phoenix needed help on the perimeter. That’s not in question. But holy mackerel did they decide to overpay a backup guard who barely played last season and shoots 36% for her WNBA career. This isn’t exactly the kind of player that Merc fans had in mind when they saw their team clearing cap space for 2012 free agents, even with the caveat that you usually have to overpay for restricted free agents. Continue reading

Grading the Trade: On a Wing and a Prayer

The Los Angeles Sparks trade Noelle Quinn to the Washington Mystics for Marissa Coleman.

The first move of the WNBA free agency signing period turned out to be a trade that would’ve been perfectly legal back before free agency started. LA and Washington decided that their underperforming backup wings might do better if they swapped them around, so Noelle Quinn and Marissa Coleman both face a change of scenery next season. Given how they played in 2011, it probably can’t hurt.

Continue reading