A familiar face is returning to the Minnesota Lynx in 2024 as the team continues to fill out the roster this offseason and during WNBA Free Agency.
The first free agent to return from last year’s team is veteran forward Bridget Carleton, who has agreed to re-sign with Minnesota on a two-year deal, according to ESPN’s Alexa Philippou. That deal can not become official until Feb. 1, when contracts can begin to be announced by teams.
It’s not much of a surprise to see Carleton return to the team she has played with since 2019, having served as a well-liked, coveted veteran player and voice on the team over her five-year WNBA career.
Carleton has been a key player coming off the Lynx bench, which was once again the case in 2023 while she answered the call for Minnesota when needed, both coming off the bench and as a starter. The 26-year-old Canadian has provided the Lynx with a deep-ball threat primarily off the bench, an area that will require more consistency on Minnesota’s roster this season. She is also a player who can stretch the floor and open things up for players in the post.
Carleton’s numbers haven’t necessarily stood out over her five-year career, averaging 4.3 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists over 136 games, but she impacts the game in ways that go beyond statistics seen, notably her impact in the locker room and her veteran presence on the court that often makes a different for Minnesota.
During the 2023 season, Carleton primarily came off the bench for the Lynx while appearing in 38 of the 40 regular season contests and starting in four of those games. Over that span, she averaged 3.2 points, 2.3 rebounds and 0.9 assists over 15.1 minutes while shooting 34.5% from the field and 33.7% from three.
In preparation for the 2024 season, Carleton has spent her offseason overseas with UNI Györ in Hungary, averaging 18.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.1 steals over seven EuroLeague games and posting 14.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.4 steals in seven Hungary-A Division games nearing the end of January.