Las Vegas Aces, Kelsey Plum agree to contract extension

Plum, Aces agree to extension

The Las Vegas Aces announced Friday that the team has signed Kelsey Plum to a contract extension.

Plum, the No. 1 overall pick in 2017, is entering the final season of her rookie scale contract. Our Howard Megdal reported that it’s a two-year extension for Plum, starting at $175,000 with full protection.

“Over the past two years, Las Vegas has become home for me, and I’m excited about what we are building here together,” Plum said in a team release. “I’m signing back to chase a championship, and as testimony to my belief in this team, our staff, MGM and the WNBA.”

Plum excelled in the 2019 semifinals against the Washington Mystics, averaging 15.3 points and 8.3 assists while shooting 50 percent from the field. Though the Aces were pleased with Plum’s playoff performance, it wasn’t seen as a prerequisite for this extension.

“I think we always knew what Kelsey had,” Aces general manager Dan Padover told High Post Hoops. “I think there’s just a matter of timing on when she really started to have things click on all cylinders. It wound up happening a lot during the playoffs. That wasn’t necessarily the driving force in doing this.”

Plum started 27 games in 2018 along with the first 30 of the 2019 season. Head coach and president of basketball operations Bill Laimbeer moved her back into the starting lineup for Game 2 of the Washington series. Plum drove the offense against the eventual 2019 champions, getting the ball inside to All-WNBA center Liz Cambage and putting pressure on the defense as a scoring threat from all three levels.

An extension for Plum is an important step toward the level of sustained success the franchise hopes to model. The Aces are already in a position to compete for a championship in 2020. Key players are set to hit unrestricted free agency in consecutive offseasons. This initial offseason under the new collective bargaining agreement illustrated the additional challenges contenders will face in retaining their core players while staying under the league’s hard cap.

Plum could have waited to test the waters in restricted free agency, looking to pursue a slightly bigger payday. Signing the extension now gives the Aces one less thing to worry about over the next nine months. Padover noted that every conversation throughout this process with Plum was positive.

“Kelsey has been all about Vegas and continues to be,” he said. “I think the best part about this was that this re-signing would keep the team together and keep the winning culture together as long as possible. That speaks volumes about her that she was willing to sign now.”

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