The Lynx are a WNBA team with great expectations and a great number of injuries. Seattle, a team on the build, can afford to be patient. So Monday’s trade makes sense for both sides.
The Lynx sent injured guard Monica Wright to the Storm on Monday in exchange for guard Renee Montgomery and Seattle’s second-round pick in the 2016 draft.
“This comes at a good time for us,” said Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve, whose team has withstood injuries to Wright and Seimone Augustus while building the league’s best record (12-3). “With that skill set at that position? Obviously, we’re in a place where we need some help.”
A star at the University of Connecticut, Montgomery was Minnesota’s first-round draft pick in 2009 (the fourth overall). She played one season with the Lynx before being part of the January 2010 trade with the Connecticut Sun that brought point guard Lindsay Whalen back to Minnesota. In that trade, the Lynx sent Montgomery and the first overall pick in the 2010 draft to Connecticut in exchange for Whalen and the second overall pick. The Sun used its pick to take Tina Charles — Montgomery’s college teammate and roommate — and the Lynx followed by drafting Wright.
So things have come full circle for Montgomery, who had her most productive seasons with the Sun as a teammate with current Lynx center Asjha Jones. Montgomery was traded by Connecticut to Seattle in January.
Wright will join the Storm, which signed her to an offer sheet — one the Lynx matched — a year ago. Seattle can wait for Wright to get healthy before plugging her into the team’s plans for the future.
Montgomery, meanwhile, can help the Lynx right away. Both Wright and Augustus had knee surgeries last week. Augustus is due back in mid-August. On Sunday, Whalen got poked in the eye late in the second quarter and did not return. She is expected back soon, perhaps even Wednesday’s game against Connecticut at Target Center. But Reeve was looking for immediate veteran help that would allow her to monitor Whalen’s minutes now and Augustus’ when she returns.
And in Montgomery, Reeve gets a 5-7 point guard with a scorer’s mentality who can also play off the ball. That gives Reeve three guards — Whalen, Anna Cruz and Montgomery — with that flexibility.
Reeve said she relied heavily on Maya Moore’s advice when making the deal; Moore and Montgomery were college teammates for two seasons and have kept in touch. Moore’s take on Montgomery: good player, good teammate.
“She’s a player very comfortable shooting the three,” Reeve said. “She’s a good ballhandler. A player who is competitive by nature.”
Montgomery, 28, has career averages of 10.6 points and 3.2 assists. This season, she has averaged 7.1 points and 3.0 assists while backing up Seattle star Sue Bird. While playing for the Sun in 2012, she was named the WNBA’s sixth woman of the year after averaging 11.6 points per game.
Wright, meanwhile, leaves after being a key player off the bench for two WNBA title teams. “She was part of the fabric of what we became,” Reeve said. “We appreciate so much what she’s given us.”
According to Reeve, Whalen improved Monday and was able to fly back to the Twin Cities with the team. Whalen went to a doctor in Tulsa immediately after the injury, basically to make sure her eye would be fine on the flight.
Whalen, who was able to see out of the eye, was scheduled for two medical appointments Monday, one with a regular physician and the second with a specialist.
Moore honored again
Moore was named Western Conference player of the week for the second consecutive time Monday after averaging 29.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 4.7 assists in three games, all Lynx victories.
Moore scored a season-high 32 points Sunday in Tulsa, with 30 coming in the second half, a franchise record.