Five-time WNBA All-Star Angel McCoughtry is expected to agree to a contract with the Minnesota Lynx, according to Khristina Williams of Girls Talk Sports TV. The terms of the contract, which McCoughtry is eligible to sign on Tuesday, are unknown.
.@GrlsTlkSportsTV SOURCES: Angel McCoughtry and the Minnesota Lynx are expected to reach an agreement.— Khristina Williams (@Khristina) January 28, 2022
McCoughtry, one of the premier scorers in WNBA history, is joining a Lynx team she is very familiar with. The well-respected wing famously battled Maya Moore and the Lynx as a member of the 2011 and 2013 Atlanta Dream teams that lost to Minnesota in the WNBA Finals.
Rumors about McCoughtry’s potential interest in playing for Cheryl Reeve in Minnesota began circulating when she sat court-side with Lynx star Napheesa Collier at Target Center to take in the Minnesota Timberwolves’ win over the Golden State Warriors back on January 16th.
Just two days later, Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune reported that 2021 Defensive Player of the Year Sylvia Fowles would return for another season (which was soon after confirmed by Fowles via Instagram).
The former No. 1 pick is coming off of both a torn right ACL and a torn right meniscus suffered last May during the Las Vegas Aces’ lone preseason game.
McCoughtry averaged 14.4 points per game on 51.8/47.1/88.2 shooting splits to go along with 5.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.3 steals over 20 minutes per game in her most recent full season — 2020 —, during which she helped Las Vegas to the WNBA Finals, where the Aces fell to the Seattle Storm 3-0 in the Wubble.
The key question facing McCoughtry, 35, is how many minutes she will be able to handle upon her return from major knee surgery.
Standing at 6-foot-1 with a versatile offensive skillset, there’s no question that McCoughtry will be welcomed with open arms to a Lynx squad that will be without Collier — who is pregnant with a baby girl due in May — for much of the 2022 season.
Despite finishing fourth in scoring last season (82.7 points per game), Minnesota struggled to score at times in key stretches. McCoughtry, plus the return of a 100% healthy Aerial Powers, will go a long way in taking pressure off of Fowles to carry the offense on a nightly basis.
McCoughtry’s quick trigger, ability to knock down tough shots in the mid-range, and post-up smaller guards in the paint will be useful when flanked by shooters as talented as Kayla McBride and Powers. She played well off of A’ja Wilson in Las Vegas and will certainly benefit from playing with another good post and elbow passer in Natalie Achonwa.
Her fit with Fowles could depend on her 3-point shooting. McCoughtry is a 29.4% 3-point shooter and her 47.1% mark in 2020 was only 34 shots. However, if she can still beat defenders off the dribble with her handle and arsenal of ball fakes, footwork and step-through moves, her 3-point accuracy may not be as critical to the team’s offensive success.
Bringing McCoughtry into the fold raises speculation surrounding how the Lynx will work out their situation at point guard. 2021 starter Layshia Clarendon — who have traveled to Minnesota several times this offseason and is expected to return to the Lynx — and sharpshooting pick-and-roll playmaker Rachel Banham are both unrestricted free agents.
Minnesota currently has $432,198 in cap space according to Her Hoop Stats. However, with Fowles undoubtedly receiving a max contract worth $196,267, the Lynx will realistically have $235,931 in space with three open roster spots before signing McCoughtry.
The Lynx surely have enough cap space to bring back Clarendon, but will Reeve look to bring in another rotational guard? Time will tell.
Rachel Galligan of Winsidr and Just Women’s Sports reported Friday that unrestricted free agent guard and former Lynx point guard Odyssey Sims has had conversations with the team about a potential return.
Unrestricted free agent Odyssey Sims has had discussions with the Minnesota Lynx, Chicago Sky and Connecticut Sun so far this free agency period. @Winsidr— Rachel Galligan (@RachGall) January 28, 2022
In the end, point guard is where Minnesota may need the most help after the McCoughtry addition and getting forward Damiris Dantas back in 2022 from a Lisfranc injury suffered last September.
McCoughtry, a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, will get a good feel for what it’s like to play for Reeve when she suits up alongside fellow Lynx Kayla McBride at the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Training Camp next weekend in Washington, D.C.
Following the conclusion of the three-day camp, the team will be cut from 17 to 12 and travel to Puerto Rico to play in the FIBA World Cup Qualifying Tournament from February 10-12.
The USA team has already qualified for the 2022 FIBA World Cup, which takes place in Sydney, Australia, from September 22 through October 1st, because Team USA won the Gold Medal at last year’s Tokyo Olympics.
Because the team has already qualified, some players will not risk injury in the qualifying tournament ahead of the WNBA season. It has already been announced that four training camp attendees — Elena Delle Donne, Sabrina Ionescu, Betnijah Laney and Breanna Stewart — will not make the trip to Puerto Rico for the tournament.
That means that only one camp participant of the remaining 13 players will be cut from the team. The chances of seeing both McCoughtry and McBride on the team are strong, which would bode well for the two getting to know each other better in the context of how Reeve wants them to play this upcoming season. The bucket-getting wings were teammates on the 2020 Aces team.
It is encouraging that McCoughtry is already healthy enough and ready to play in the qualifying tournament given she is only 8 month removed from her surgery. After the tournament, McCoughtry will have just over two months to recover and ramp up before WNBA training camp kicks off in April.
The WNBA legend holds a career scoring average of 18.7 points per game — good for eighth all-time (sixth among active players) — and is No. 15 on the W’s all-time scoring list.
McCoughtry is the latest addition to the growing list of all-time great players to commit to play for Cheryl Reeve as a Minnesota Lynx in front of the best fans in the WNBA.