Storm releases Sheryl Swoopes
Veteran star averaged career-low-tying 7.1 points in her only season with Storm.
Seattle Times staff reporter
The Storm waived guard Sheryl Swoopes this weekend.
Brian Agler, the team's coach and director of player personnel, said the move was made to clear space under the $803,000 salary cap. Swoopes' 2009 contract would have become guaranteed Sunday.
The awkward move seemed to create tension at Washington's women's basketball loss to Arizona State on Saturday at Edmundson Pavilion. Swoopes was seated on one side of the arena while Agler and the ownership group, Force 10 Hoops, was on the other side, flanked by plenty of empty seats.
Swoopes, 37, has been the face for the Storm this offseason, playing a role in the Pacific Northwest ballet's "The Nutcracker," signing autographs at car dealerships and attending other Huskies games, plus making other paid appearances.
Swoopes had relocated to Kirkland from Houston with her family. Swoopes, rehabilitating from back surgery in October 2007, last March signed a one-year contract with a player option for a second season.
"If this is going to be my last year, then I want to go out on top," the three-time WNBA MVP said at a news conference to announce her signing.
The Storm had high hopes last season after adding Swoopes, Swin Cash and Yolanda Griffith to an all-star lineup that included Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson.
The team finished a franchise best 22-12, but was booted from the first round of the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year. Swoopes, who was slowed by injuries, averaged a career-low-tying 7.1 points and 4.3 rebounds in 29 games.
With Swoopes' salary gone, Agler can make sign-and-trade moves or pick up a high-caliber reserve. The Storm owns the rights to center Janell Burse and is trying to finalize her contract. Agler also hopes Jackson, the league's third-leading scorer (20.2), opts to play another season in Seattle. Jackson hasn't publicly said whether she'll return to the WNBA this summer.
"It was a very tough decision to release Sheryl," Agler said in a release. "Our free-agency priorities, right now, are to secure depth both at the post and point-guard positions."
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
UPDATE - 7:10 PM
Storm re-signs Swin Cash to multiyear deal
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