Status of Lynx star Maya Moore for ’19 WNBA season uncertain
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Lynx star Maya Moore’s availability for the upcoming season is uncertain.
Lynx head coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve said Thursday that the organization has been “in close contact” with the five-time first team All-WNBA honoree. The Lynx and Moore “together are deciding how to handle her status for 2019,” Reeve said.
Reeve’s statement was issued in response to a report by Minneapolis TV station WCCO that said, without attribution, Moore was considering not playing for the Lynx this year. She was given the franchise tag this week by the team, preventing her from becoming a free agent.
Moore’s agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, wasn’t immediately available for comment.
The 29-year-old Moore took the winter off from international competition , citing a taxing 2018 season that saw the four-time WNBA champion Lynx ousted in the first round of the playoffs. The league compressed the 34-game schedule by three weeks from the 2017 slate.
“I worked really hard, and I’m proud of everything I was able to give this year,” Moore said in an interview last fall with ESPN.com. “But I’m definitely trying to get some rest, just recover and change the pace and get refreshed. I’m trying to take advantage of being home for a little while.”
Moore was the top vote-getter for the All-Star game last summer in Minnesota, but she passed on the team captain responsibility that would have required her to draft from the 22-player pool. Candace Parker of the Los Angeles Sparks took her place instead, joining Elena Delle Donne of the Washington Mystics in assembling the sides. Moore had 18 points, eight rebounds and six assists in the exhibition to earn her third straight All-Star Most Valuable Player award.
Moore also opted out of the Women’s Basketball World Cup, the first major event she wasn’t on the U.S. national team for since the 2008 Summer Olympics, which took place before the start of her sophomore season in college at Connecticut.
The Lynx, too, are in flux following the retirement of five-time All-Star point guard Lindsay Whalen. The two other core pieces of the team’s dynasty that began in 2011 when Moore was the first overall pick in the draft, Seimone Augustus and Rebekkah Brunson, are free agents. WNBA players have exercised their right to terminate the current collective bargaining agreement after the 2019 season, cutting the deal short by two years and further muddying the future of the league’s salary structure.
Last season was only the second time in eight years the Lynx didn’t reach the WNBA Finals. Moore was eighth in the league in minutes and seventh in points in 2018. She has missed only one game in eight seasons, with career averages of 18.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game.
The season begins May 24.