I knew Seimone Augustus was a free agent this off-season, but frankly I didn’t think it mattered much. I assumed she would re-sign with the Lynx for a final season (or maybe two) before calling it a career. She was not much of an on-court factor last season, her age-35 year, missing most of it with knee problems. I knew she wanted to go out on better terms, and thought she would be a part of the transition to the next group of Minnesota Lynx.
So I am shocked that today Augustus has signed with the Los Angeles Sparks, and will be suiting up for the Lynx long-time rivals this season.
I’ve had about half an hour to absorb this news, and I simply cannot wrap my head around it. Augustus was supposed to be a Lynx. She was supposed to end her career here. It’s like if DIrk Nowitzki signed with the Spurs or Lakers for his final season. Just wrong.
I really don’t know how or why this has come about. I can’t imagine the Lynx failed to offer her a reasonable deal to finish off her career. Did she value what she saw as a better opportunity for one more title with the Sparks more? I really don’t know.
As recently as 10 days ago, Lynx coach and GM Cheryl Reeve expressed her expectation that Augustus would be back in the fold:
One side note from today’s #MinnesotaLynx event... I asked Cheryl Reeve about Seimone Augustus’ status (she’s a free agent). Reeve was matter-of-fact - she has no doubt Augustus will be back.— Chris Long (@ChrisLongKSTP) February 11, 2020
All I know is the Lynx have lost an icon, a player who has been central to their identity for well over a decade. It’s not too much to say Seimone Augustus has BEEN the Lynx since her heralded arrival in 2006.
Augustus was a huge star and All-American at LSU, one of the greatest athletes in the history of the school when she was drafted by the Lynx first overall in 2006. It was not a good Lynx team at that point, but Augustus immediately dominated, averaging 22 points a night as a rookie, winning the Rookie of the Year award, and making All-WNBA in her first season.
It was merely the start of what will no doubt turn out to be a Hall-of-Fame career. Augustus would go on to make eight All-Star teams and six All-WNBA teams. She kept the Lynx afloat until they were able to turn their fortunes around under Reeve, with the acquisitions of Lindsay Whalen and Maya Moore, and later Rebekkah Brunson and Sylvia Fowles.
She was a huge part of the dominant team of the decade, which saw her and the Lynx win four championships. She won the Finals MVP in 2011, their first title.
In addition to her incredible success with the Lynx, Augustus has won three Olympic gold medals with team USA.
Augustus was and is a scorer. In her prime, her quick first step, ball-handling chops, and body control allowed her to create space to get off whatever shot she wanted, and she was remarkably adept in the mid-range. Augustus shaking a defender and pulling up from 17 feet will be an enduring memory for me and many Lynx fans.
Seimone Augustus has been my favorite player for a long, long time. I love her confidence, her game, her attitude. She’s defined cool for this era of the WNBA, and she’s been an absolute joy to watch and root for. She’s helped bring four championships to the team I root for, and will go down without question as one of the greats of all time.
I had every expectation that she would finish her career here in Minnesota to the adulation of an adoring fan base.
That is apparently not to be, and I wish her well in Los Angeles. I won’t pretend, however, that I’m not disappointed that it has come to this.
It doesn’t diminish her one iota, but it wasn’t supposed to end this way.