Why the Aces cut down to 11 ahead of Thursday’s roster deadline
The Las Vegas Aces changed course yesterday afternoon ahead of the deadline to trim their roster count down to at least 12 ahead of the start of the 2019 WNBA regular season.
Head coach and president of basketball operations Bill Laimbeer initially told reporters at practice on Thursday that the team would waive point guard Sydney Colson. Sixth-year big Kelsey Bone had just arrived in Las Vegas and would return to practice on Friday.
The Aces opted instead to keep Colson before Thursday’s deadline had passed. In order to do so, the team agreed to a buyout with Bone and waived second-year wing Jaime Nared.
“We just took a look at our roster and really took a look at our needs for the second unit,” Aces general manager told High Post Hoops on Friday. “We put an emphasis on getting another backup 1 to start the season, and we thought Colson gave us that best shot.”
Bone’s contract was guaranteed near the max at $112,000 for the 2019 season per the High Post Hoops salary database.
Padover declined to share precise terms of the buyout but noted that the team will have the freedom under the league’s hard salary cap to add a 12th player “sometime down the road.”
“We had a lot of excess at that position and thought it was the best thing for our basketball team to put all of our players in the best opportunity to get the most reps and to mutually part ways with Kelsey,” he said. “We’re moving forward with 11 and at some point, we’ll have the opportunity to go to 12 if we choose to do so and go from there.”
The Aces have five bigs on the opening night roster: Liz Cambage, A’ja Wilson, Dearica Hamby, Carolyn Swords and JiSu Park.
The guards are led by returners Kayla McBride, Kelsey Plum and Tamera Young. Colson will join a guard corps that also includes 2019 No. 1 overall pick Jackie Young and veteran sharpshooter Sugar Rodgers.
How do the Aces intend to divvy up the point guard minutes? Laimbeer has noted previously that Jackie Young will spend some time running the point along with Plum.
“I don’t think there’s an exact formula right now,” Padover said. “Bill will have to see what type of rotations he gets into, but it’s nice to have an extra pure 1 in your rotation, and that’s what Sydney provides.”
The Aces have $835,571 committed to their 10 players already under contract per the salary database. Bone’s deal along with Colson at the veteran’s minimum would have put the team at $1,003,946, nearly $8,000 over the cap.
Bone’s buyout, then, would have needed to account for that difference and then some to leave the door open for the team to add another player later in the season.
“You’re always talking about potential trade options,” Padover said when asked if the team made any progress in first trying to trade Bone to another team. “But yesterday, when we had to make a decision, we felt comfortable with the direction we went.”
The Aces kick off their 2019 campaign at home on Sunday against the Los Angeles Sparks.