A big day for Cheryl Reeve and the Lynx
With WNBA final rosters due on Thursday, teams have already begun making tough decisions. The Minnesota Lynx made multiple moves on Tuesday that may indicate what their final roster will look like. The Lynx made two trades and waived two other players as the roster remains at 14 players, two more than the league limit.
While the Lynx haven’t announced who the final cuts are, the trades helped clarify who those will likely be. Take a look at the trades:
- Lynx acquire center Alaina Coates from the Chicago Sky in exchange for their 2020 third round pick. Coates, the second-overall pick in the 2017 WNBA draft, had a solid rookie season for the Sky. She appeared in 32 games last season and proved to be an efficient scorer and decent rebounder. However, Coates became extraneous after Chicago acquired Jantel Lavender via trade on Monday. It’s likely that Coates provides additional minutes behind Sylvia Fowles along with Temi Fagbenle.
- Lynx acquire forward Stephanie Talbot from the Phoenix Mercury in exchange for their 2020 second round pick. Talbot enters her third WNBA season in 2019 and fortifies the wing rotation for the Lynx. As a career 38.4 3-point shooter, the Lynx are hoping to she can provide some sharpshooting off the bench. With Karima Christmas-Kelly, Cecilia Zandalasini, Jessica Shepherd and now Talbot, the Lynx have a nice forward rotation.
The fact that both moves cost the Lynx very little is an added bonus. Finding players like Talbot and Coates in the latter rounds of the draft is difficult, though not impossible, and both players are young enough to be future pieces if they play well. The price for both players seems fair.
What this could also indicate is that there is no timetable for Rebekkah Brunson’s return. Brunson suffered a concussion in August 2018 and hasn’t returned yet. Given the tricky nature of head injuries, it’s a good idea to have a plan in the event Brunson doesn’t return.
Implications for the final roster
In addition to the trades, the Lynx made two corresponding cuts. Rookies Jillian Alleyne and Kenisha Bell were waived after the Talbot trade was announced. It seems that this is a bad sign for forwards Erlana Larkins and Shao Ting.
The Lynx have already cut four rookies and Ting could be next. Napheesa Collier and Shepherd are likely the only rookies the Lynx carry this season.
As for Larkins, the Lynx have better options at forward. The offseason additions of Christmas-Kelly and Damiris Dantas and drafting Collier and Shepherd already gave Larkins long odds to make the roster. That doesn’t even include Zandalasini and Fagbenle, either.
Nothing is official yet, but Larkins and Ting appear to be the most likely candidates for the final round of cuts.
Don’t call it a rebuild
Given the roster turnover the Lynx have had this offseason, it would be easy to declare them in rebuilding mode. It seems that Cheryl Reeve has no intention of hitting reset as much as she appears to be retooling her roster to become faster with an emphasis on outside shooting.
The Lynx recognized that they needed to get younger but not too young with the additions of players like Lexie Brown, Talbot, and Coates. These aren’t green WNBA rookies but they’re young enough to have upside left.
We’ll have to wait just a few more days before we can start to see how far this balance of youth and veteran experience can take this Lynx team.
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