Liberty waive Tayler Hill, Stephanie Talbot will remain overseas

Preparing for TBD training camp, New York trims their 2020 roster down to 15 spots

With the unofficial start of training camp beginning virtually, the Liberty announced on Tuesday afternoon that they’ve waived guard Tayler Hill. High Post Hoops’ Howard Megdal reports that Hill took $90,000 to be bought out of her contract, allowing the former Ohio State Buckeye to sign elsewhere.

The team also announced that wing Stephanie Talbot, who was picked up in a trade with the Minnesota Lynx for 26th overall pick Erica Ogwumike, will not join the team for the 2020 season. According to the league’s transaction page, she’s listed as “Non-Active – Personal Decision” and will remain overseas.

Hill, who the Liberty acquired in the three-way trade with the Mystics and the Wings that sent Tina Charles to Washington in exchange for draft picks galore, had little chance of making the final roster. New York has a loaded backcourt rotation.

When I spoke to General Manager Jonathan on the day of the Charles trade, he thought it was “possible” that Hill could make the team. “Right now we’re in a weird time with the season and what does training camp look like?,” he said before the draft.  “And how is it all setup? So there’s not a lot of certainty there. She’s got a chance to make the roster. But, you know, right now we’re not making final roster decisions.”

But this was before the Liberty nailed “every target” in the 2020 draft, which included another guard in Jazmine Jones and two other guard/forwards in ninth overall pick Megan Walker and tenth overall pick Jocelyn Willoughby (acquired by the Liberty once Shatori Walker-Kimbrough was traded to the Mercury).

This was also before the Liberty waived another guard in Brittany Boyd last Tuesday, who similar to Hill had battled through injuries and put up average to below-average numbers shooting.

While Hill had a breakout campaign in 2016, almost receiving the league’s Most Improved Player award, Hill will need to reestablish herself elsewhere.

Is the training camp roster set?

China’s guard Meng Li (C) vies with Australia’s forward Rebecca Allen (L) and Australia’s guard Stephanie Talbot during the FIBA 2018 Women’s Basketball World Cup quarter final match between Australia and China at the Santiago Martin arena in San Cristobal de la Laguna, on the Canary island of Tenerife, on September 28, 2018. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO / AFP) (Photo credit should read JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images)

Does Stephanie Talbot plan on staying in almost COVID-free Australia or will she try to find playing opportunities elsewhere “overseas” while New York experiments with a 15 piece roster that employs six rookies?

Kolb is still right. While Hill didn’t have a chance to make the final roster, there’s not a lot that is certain about the start of camp or even the 2020 season.

The Liberty house five international players, including Talbot’s Opals teammate Rebecca Allen, who is expected to be a major piece in the Liberty’s “New Era” system. What happens if Han Xu or Allen or Amanda Zahui B. can’t get back into the states?

If New York lands into the 2020 regular season short-handed, Kolb could resort to coax Forward Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe to sign a contract. While she was extended a reserved qualifying offer before free agency, Raincock-Ekunwe decided to sit out the 2020 season to focus on Team Canada and Tokyo pre-COVID-19.

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