The Storm has waived two of its 2020 draftees
The Seattle Storm have waived forward Joyner Holmes and Haley Gorecki, the team announced Tuesday as the deadline to trim and finalize rosters looms. Last week, the Associated Press reported that teams would have until May 26 to get their rosters down to the league-maximum 12 players so that players can start getting paid on June 1.
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The 2020 WNBA season was set to tip off on May 15, with the opening of training camp originally slated for April 26. However, in early April the league announced that the season would be postponed due to the spread of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Teams usually have until the beginning of the regular season to finalize their rosters but due to the unusual circumstances, the league pushed this year’s deadline back to May 26. The WNBA has also been reportedly considering different ways to hold a season this summer, with the idea of a bubble league seemingly leading the way. However, as of yet there is no set plan to start the season despite the roster deadline.
On deadline day, the Storm successfully shaved down its roster to 12 players after waiving Holmes and Gorecki and announcing that Latvia international Kitija Laksa will sit out the 2020 season at home as originally agreed upon between the two parties. Holmes, a forward out of Texas, was selected with the 19th overall pick in last month’s virtual draft while former Duke guard Gorecki was drafted in the third round with the 31st overall pick.
With their three picks in this year’s draft and no real immediate needs, the Storm were looking toward the future. The team selected Laksa with the No. 11 overall pick, who averaged 17.8 points per game in three seasons with the South Florida Bulls before suffering an ACL and meniscus injury. The 6′ wing then went back to Latvia and played in the EuroLeague, where she struggled to regain her form, averaging just 8 points and 2.6 rebounds per game for TTT Riska. The Latvian will continue to play in the EuroLeague and is expected to make her WNBA debut in 2021.
At Texas, Holmes averaged 11.1 points and 7.5 rebounds per game while Gorecki averaged a career-high 18.5 points and 4.4 assists per game in her final year at Duke . In back-to-back seasons, she also led the Blue Devils in average points, rebounds and assists.
As the AP reported, players who are waived will not get paid but will continue to receive benefits through June 30.
Last season, despite being without the injured Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird, the Storm managed to finish with a 18-16 overall record, good for sixth place in the standings. Led by Jordin Canada and Jewell Lloyd, Seattle defeated the Minnesota Lynx in the first round of the playoffs before falling in the second round to the Los Angeles Sparks. As our Ben Rosof wrote last month about the team’s hopes for this season, “the Storm will be high on the list of championship contenders given the return of Stewart and Bird alongside the rapid progression of Natasha Howard.” Last season, Howard averaged a career-high 18.1 points and 8.2 rebounds.