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Originally published Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at 8:52 PM

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Storm heads into break with game at Los Angeles

Seattle will look to improve its roster after the break as it tries to hold on to a playoff spot in the second half of the season.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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The Storm could be close to bringing in a player to evaluate and add to the roster after the All-Star break.

Coach and general manager Brian Agler waived center Nakia Sanford last week before WNBA contracts became guaranteed, only to re-sign the veteran to a seven-day contract on Sunday. The move appeared odd because if there was a better option available, seemingly Agler would have made that move.

But Agler and his staff have discussed bringing in a player to see if she could mix with the team for the season and possibly earn a long-term deal with the Storm.

“Unless you have the individual or person (at practice), you really don’t know,” Agler said.

The team couldn’t make a move until it returns to practice on Monday after the leaguewide All-Star break. Seattle (6-10) will wrap up the opening half of its season at Los Angeles (12-5) on Thursday.

Agler is still considering roster moves to improve a season in which injuries to All-Stars Sue Bird (knee) and Lauren Jackson (hamstring) forced the team to rapidly shift its look. Heading into the break, Seattle hasn’t been consistent but has done enough to stay average.

The Storm holds the fourth and final playoff spot, but Tulsa (6-13) is on a three-game win streak and clinched the regular-season series against Seattle.

“I don’t think anything with our team would be (graded) C-ish or below C,” Agler said when asked to evaluate the opening half of the Storm’s season. “This league’s tough ... I do like the way our team is playing in general, in regards to how I think we have to play to be successful.”

A clue of how opponents view the Storm is through the All-Star team set to play in Connecticut on Saturday.

Neither fans nor coaches voted a Storm player onto the 11-member Western Conference roster. It’s a first since the organization drafted Jackson with the No. 1 overall pick in 2001.

Some thought coaches, who pick the All-Star reserves, would vote for Storm veteran forward Tina Thompson, who is an eight-time All-Star and is retiring at the end of her 17th season.

“Knowing her, she probably doesn’t want to (play) for a variety of reasons,” Agler said of Thompson even being named an injury replacement by league president Laurel Richie. Phoenix rookie Brittney Griner (knee) has missed the Mercury’s past five games but no announcement was made Wednesday, the league’s self-imposed deadline.

“Tina wants to take a break and spend some time with her family for three or four days,” Agler said. “But sentimental value for what she’s done and what she’s meant for the league, it would be a very nice acknowledgment for her.”

Storm players weren’t bothered, either, by not garnering many votes among fans or being selected by coaches as reserves. Forward Camille Little was a leading candidate for the team, averaging 12.5 points and 5.5 rebounds on 50 percent shooting from the field.

But she, like her teammates, is looking forward to spending time with family instead.

“It would be a great opportunity,” said Little, adding: “We can’t control that. No one on our team lets that affect them.”

Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or jevans@seattletimes.com.

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