Lynx, star Lindsay Whalen agree to contract extension

MINNEAPOLIS — With the season Lindsay Whalen is having, Minnesota Lynx brass figure there’s no point in waiting to keep her around.

The team announced Friday it has signed the homegrown point guard to a multiyear contract extension, locking her up for what’s likely the remainder of her professional tenure. The 31-year-old Hutchinson, Minn., native and Minnesota graduate is in the midst of her best season to date, averaging a career-high 14.7 points per game.

Her six assists per contest are also tops in her 10 years in the WNBA and rank third in the league.

“We are extremely excited to have extended the contract of a franchise cornerstone and one of the best players in the WNBA,” Lynx executive vice president Roger Griffith said in a release. “Lindsay has become the top point guard in the league over the past several seasons and we are glad to have her playing in her home state of Minnesota. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to watch an outstanding individual like herself night in and out and we are thrilled that she’s decided to continue her career with the Lynx.”

A source close to the situation said Whalen received a maximum deal under the WNBA’s collective bargaining agreement, meaning the contract is for three years in the neighborhood of $107,500 per season. (The league’s current CBA doesn’t list maximum salary after the 2013 season.)

Minnesota’s floor general the past four seasons after coming from Connecticut in a 2010 trade, Whalen is nine points away from becoming the second player in WNBA history to amass 4,000 points, 1,500 assists and 1,000 rebounds. She’s yet to show many of the aging signs that typically accompany a professional athlete’s venture into their 30s, though Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve has been careful with Whalen during practice, giving her an occasional day off to recover.

Of the Lynx’s more seasoned veterans, Whalen has been the most durable. She’s yet to miss a start and is averaging 30.1 minutes per game, second on the team behind third-year pro Maya Moore.

“Lindsay Whalen is a big part of everything that we do, at all times,” Reeve said recently.

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