The Minnesota Lynx are off to a confounding 0-4 start to the regular season, with the team’s early roster cuts under scrutiny.
In early May, the Lynx cut Layshia Clarendon, Crystal Dangerfield and four other players and signed Odyssey Sims.
Dangerfield, who won Rookie of the Year in 2020, averaged 7.7 points, 2.0 rebounds and 2.8 assists through 31 appearances during the 2021 campaign.
Clarendon averaged 10.4 points, 3.1 rebounds and 5.7 assists through 21 appearances last season, helping the Lynx make a playoff run. Coach Cheryl Reeve told reporters Clarendon’s cut was injury-related, but Clarendon has disputed that claim, tweeting, “I am 100% cleared to play and practice. I’m feeling strong and ready to play!”
I’ve gotten a few media requests for comments on being waived and my injury. I have no comments other than I am 100% cleared to play and practice. I’m feeling strong and ready to play!— Layshia Clarendon (@Layshiac) May 4, 2022
I’ve gotten a few media requests for comments on being waived and my injury. I have no comments other than I am 100% cleared to play and practice. I’m feeling strong and ready to play!
Minnesota also waived 2021 draft pick Rennia Davis, Yvonne Turner, Kayla Jones and Hannah Sjerven.
On May 12, one week after signing Sims to a training camp contract, the Lynx mutually parted ways with the veteran guard. On the same day, the team agreed to a contract buyout with forward Angel McCoughtry.
McCoughtry signed with Minnesota in February after missing the 2021 season due to an ACL injury. In her two games with the Lynx this season, the 35-year-old averaged 6.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.0 assists.
“Although the organization has been very patient with my injury and helping me heal my body, sometimes it’s about what fits best for both parties,” McCoughtry said in a statement.
NEWS: @minnesotalynx Agree To Contract Buyout With Angel McCoughtryFull Release: https://t.co/vgSyB0Qhpf— Lynx PR (@Lynx_PR) May 12, 2022
NEWS: @minnesotalynx Agree To Contract Buyout With Angel McCoughtryFull Release: https://t.co/vgSyB0Qhpf
The Lynx roster shuffle continued Friday as the team signed a pair of former UConn players in Moriah Jefferson, who was waived by the Dallas Wings, and Evina Westbrook, who was waived by the Seattle Storm.
Minnesota re-signed Milić, Sjerven and Turner to hardship contracts after releasing the players earlier in the month — although Turner’s return did not last long. The guard was released again Monday in response to the Lynx activating Kayla McBride, who returned after finishing her European season.
Welcome to Minnesota, @_BonnBonn! pic.twitter.com/W0blA15DRm— Minnesota Lynx (@minnesotalynx) May 13, 2022
Welcome to Minnesota, @_BonnBonn! pic.twitter.com/W0blA15DRm
The constant roster shuffling seems to have impacted the team’s on-court performance, as the Lynx have fallen to the Storm, Mystics, Fever and Sky in their first four contests this season.
The team has struggled without star Napheesa Collier, who is expecting her first child this month, though the 25-year-old has said she hopes to return to the court this season.
Minnesota also has yet to find a consistent presence at the point guard position but hopes Jefferson can fill the role.
“We’re looking for leadership, someone to not only be able to organize, but have the sense to understand what you’re running, why you’re running it,” Reeve said Friday. “It may take a little bit of time in terms of the nuances, but in terms of just management of the floor, that’s something we feel like Moriah can do.”
The Lynx will look for their first win of the season when they take on the Los Angeles Sparks on Tuesday.