Aerial Powers’ future in Minnesota is up in the air. But in the WNBA playoffs, coach Cheryl Reeve expects Powers to be ready to perform off the bench for her team, she said Tuesday.

The 2023 season has been an unexpected one for Powers, who is earning $201,984 from the Lynx but is averaging less than 10 minutes per game. The 29-year-old forward is in the final year of her three-year contract, and she will enter the offseason as an unrestricted free agent.

In Game 1 of Minnesota’s first-round playoff series against the Connecticut Sun, Powers played 14 minutes in the 90-60 loss. She recorded 4 points (all at the free-throw line), 3 rebounds and 1 block, and she also had 3 turnovers.

The Lynx will face the Sun again at 1 p.m. ET Sunday, and they will need a win to avoid elimination. Before Tuesday’s loss, Reeve said that the Lynx will need help from their bench, including Powers, if they want to pull off the series upset.

During the 2022 season, Powers had cemented herself as a starter and a big piece of the Minnesota attack. She started in 31 games and led the Lynx in scoring with 14.42 points per game. This season, though, she has barely seen the floor.

Powers battled an ankle injury early in the season, but once she got healthy, her minutes didn’t increase. The guard is averaging 9.8 minutes per game – the lowest of her career – and scoring 5.2 points per game – also the lowest in her career.

The Michigan State product expressed her frustration with the situation on Twitter a few weeks ago, saying that she was looking forward to her fans watching her play “with another organization” next season.

Despite the limited minutes, Powers has scored in double-digits five times this season. One of those performances came against the Sun in an 87-83 victory on July 30. She finished with 14 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds and a block in 23 minutes of playing time.

“When she gets her opportunity, hopefully she has similar success,” Reeve said Tuesday, referring to the July 30 game. “I suspect she will have their full attention. In that game, she had a great first half, and then they put the kibosh on that. They got pretty aggressive with it.”

The honeymoon is over for Aerial Powers and the Minnesota Lynx.

One season after becoming a mainstay in the starting lineup, the 29-year-old forward is averaging just 9.6 minutes per game. When one social media user wondered about her absence from a recent game, Powers responded that she looked forward to her fans coming to see her play next season “with another organization.”

Powers signed with the Lynx in 2021. While injuries marred her first season in Minnesota, she started 31 games in 2022 and led the team in scoring with 14.42 points per game.

In 2023, though, her role has been limited. After missing four weeks with a sprained ankle, she has played just seven of 12 games since her return on July 20. She scored 12 points in 16 minutes on Aug. 20, but then did not play at all in Minnesota’s Aug. 22 win against the Dallas Wings.

She will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Per Her Hoops Stats, she is earning $201,984 in 2023.

“That’s a lot of money to pay someone who you’re not playing,” WNBA legend Sheryl Swoopes said on the latest episode of her “Queens of the Court” podcast.

Swoopes tried to make sense of Powers’ limited minutes for the Lynx.

“I just feel like there’s a lot going on there, which is weird, because they could use her,” she said. “When I look at that, I’m like, Aerial Powers on one wing, Diamond Miller on another wing, with Napheesa Collier — make it make sense, because I don’t understand it.”

Powers discussed her situation further on a recent Twitch live stream, saying of her free agency: “Everybody knows I ain’t staying here.”

She also said “a few teams” pursued her ahead of the Aug. 7 trade deadline, but “everybody” has to agree in order for a trade to go through. As it stands, she remains with the Lynx, who are jostling for a playoff spot.

The Minnesota Lynx honored Rebekkah Brunson in a big way on Sunday, first by retiring her jersey and then by beating the Las Vegas Aces 102-71 behind Aerial Powers’ career performance.

The first and only player to win five WNBA championships, Brunson earned all but one of them with the Lynx after joining the team in 2010. The forward was also a member of every single championship-winning team in Minnesota. On Sunday, she joined teammates Lindsay Whalen and Seimone Augustus as the only Lynx players to have their jerseys retired as her No. 32 was raised into the rafters.

As part of the ceremony, the Lynx showed a video including interviews from those who had a front-row seat to Brunson’s career

With Brunson, a Lynx assistant coach, watching from the bench, Minnesota tallied a season-high 102 points against the Aces for just their second 100-plus point game of the year.

The Lynx also tied a franchise record with 53 rebounds — set on Tuesday, also against the Aces — and became just the second team in the WNBA to record 53-plus rebounds in more than one game during the season. Minnesota’s 67.9 percent rebounding advantage on Sunday was the second-best in franchise history. The team also grabbed 97.4 percent of defensive rebounds, the best in team history and fifth-best in WNBA history.

Six Lynx players had more than five rebounds, led by Sylvia Fowles’s 11 boards to go along with eight points and two blocked shots. Damiris Dantas had nine rebounds, and Jessica Shepard added eight.

Powers led the Lynx on offense, scoring a career-high 32 points and adding six rebounds and four assists to punctuate the celebration.

“AP said she was gonna get me 32 points, and she got me 32 points,” Brunson said during the postgame ceremony.

Jackie Young, A’ja Wilson and Kelsey Plum all finished in double digits for the second-place Aces, with Plum’s 12 points leading the way.

On Monday, the Jordan Brand announced that it has signed 11 WNBA players to Team Jordan, the largest group of endorsees to date.

Aerial Powers, Arella Guirantes, Chelsea Dungee, Satou Sabally, Crystal Dangerfield, Jordin Canada, Dearica Hamby, Te’a Cooper, Kia Nurse, Maya Moore, and Asia Durr are all now Jordan athletes.

“I think these incredible athletes are defining a lot of things about Jordan Brand and are leading real conversations that are impacting culture and our communities across the globe,” said Jordan of the group.

To commemorate the monumental signing, Jordan and the new Jumpman roster had their portraits taken by Ming Smith, the first African American female photographer to have her work acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

The photographs will be on view at Nicola Vassell Gallery in New York from June 29 to July 2 in the pop-up show “Here for a Reason.”