The Minnesota Bobcats haven’t missed the playoffs since 2010. Maya Moore left the game after the 2018 season, and the team returned in 2019 with the same regular season record (18-16) and playoff record (1st round exit) as last season. The Bobcats have returned to the Contenders mix with a better season since 2019.
In the 2021 offseason, Minnesota brought in Kayla McBride, Aerial Powers and Natalie Achonwa. Even though both Powers and Achonwa have missed significant time with injuries, the team has a new look and a new feel for all the newcomers. Another new addition is Layshia Clarendon, who signed in the season after she was cut by the Liberty. Not only did Clarendon prove New York wrong, she showed she wasn’t out of the league, but was a big reason for Minnesota’s success.
The Bobcats were one of three teams beaten by the low-seeded Sky in the playoffs. The 22-10 season ended with a disappointment, but if the Bobcats can keep unrestricted free agent Sylvia Fowles, they should be back in business in 2022, who dropped 35 last year. Still one of the best players in the league.
Free Agents (Type) (2021 Average Salary)
- Rachel Banham (unlimited) ($31,702)
- Layshia Clarendon (Unlimited) ($33,914)
- Sylvia Falls (unlimited) ($117,894)
- Ana Cruz (reserved)
Total average free agent salary: $183,510
Total Team Salary: $947,002
Cap space: $432,198
The Bobcats need to focus on getting Sylvia Fowles back first. In order to do that, they may need to pay her a super cap because she’s an unrestricted free agent and will receive offers from other teams. But she’ll want to go back to Minnesota, where she’s won two championships.
Putting it all together, the only two locks I’ve seen on unprotected contracts are Napheesa Collier, clearly a superstar, and Crystal Dangerfield, the 2020 Rookie of the Year despite 8.5 fewer points per game last year. points, but she still has potential. .
With Fowles, Collier and Dangerfield, plus protected players Kayla McBride, Aerial Powers, Natalie Achonwa and Damiris Dantas, the Bobcats have $330,239 left to cover four or five players. If they kept five (12 in total), the maximum salary they could pay their eighth key rotation player would be $88,355, which isn’t enough to make anyone that good.
So let’s say they keep 11, three of which are the No. 8 pick in this year’s draft, Rennia Davis (No. 9 in last year’s draft who missed the entire 2021 season with a stress fracture in her foot), and Jesse Kar Sheppard, despite not contributing much in the WNBA, has just tear it up overseas. That would leave them with $134,880 to pay to Layshia Clarendon or free agency. I think they should keep Clarendon, I don’t think that’s an exorbitant price for someone who averaged 10.4 points and 5.7 assists last year and is still only 30 years old. New York ended their careers too quickly.
Sure, you can find someone as good as Clarendon for $134,880, but they’re a great team fit, so stick with them.
Minnesota had a hard time parting ways with Rachel Banham, who is from Minnesota and played at the University of Minnesota. She’s also the team’s only true shooting guard other than McBride, and letting the scoring pop go away could be risky. But I think the Bobcats have to look for a good shooting guard in the draft.Maybe Christyn Williams (UConn) or Lexie Hull (Stanford), they are both expected by ESPN Into the first round, but later than the eighth round.
Banham will be more expensive than Davis, Shepard and the No. 8 pick, and Clarendon will get some good offers, so it’s better to save money and keep Clarendon.
Bridget Carlton is also a solid player who is hard to let go. And she’s slightly better than Shepard in the WNBA. Also, keeping multiple unproven players in Shepard, Davis and the No. 8 pick is risky. So maybe the Bobcats will have a different opinion and keep different players at the bottom of their roster, but I think Foles and Clarendon should stay in the rotation.
* All salary figures are from HerHoopStats