This was not a difficult negotiation.
Janel McCarville wanted to be back here. Only here, in Minneapolis, playing again for the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx. The Lynx wanted the same thing. So the news that the veteran free-agent center had signed a multi-year contract was expected.
But, to McCarville, that didn’t make it any less thrilling.
“I wanted to play for the Lynx,” said McCarville, by phone, from Poland. “And, if at all possible, I wanted to finish my career here. With the season we had last year, I showed what I could do, and they obviously liked it.”
Last season was fulfilling both for the Lynx — who won their second WNBA title in three years — and for McCarville. The former University of Minnesota star center and one-time first-overall WNBA draft pick had been out of the league for two years after her relationship with the New York Liberty went south.
The Lynx got McCarville a year ago as part of a three-team trade.
McCarville proved to be a very good fit on the talented Lynx team. She was strong on defense and rebounding, and her passing skills meshed with a roster full of good shooters. She started all 32 games she played, averaging 6.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists — second among WNBA centers. Those numbers went up to 9.3, 4.7 and 3.7 in the playoffs.
“We are happy to have Janel back in a Lynx uniform for the upcoming title defense,” said Lynx executive vice president Roger Griffith. “She was an integral part of our success last year and remains an ideal fit in our system.”
Said Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve: “I’m thrilled Janel has decided to remain a Lynx. Her personality and her on-court talent are a perfect match for our team.”
For McCarville, the Lynx were the team that reignited her WNBA career. “It was like nothing else,” she said. “It was like something out of a fairy tale movie. I had a rough go with it in New York. Two years out of the league. Who would have thought I could be thrust into the situation I was in after a matter of months? I appreciate the opportunity Minnesota gave me. That Cheryl and Roger [gave me]. Hopefully we can keep that momentum and that drive alive.”
McCarville said her season in Poland could end as early as April 20 or as late as May 1. She said she has stayed in good health and should report to Lynx training camp in better shape than a year ago, when she terminated her overseas contract early.
“I keep telling everyone that 31 is the new 50,” she joked, when asked about her health. “There have been bumps and bruises along the way.”
• The Lynx has matched the offer sheet restricted free-agent guard Monica Wright signed with Seattle, the team announced. Wright averaged 9.0 points and 2.3 assists last season.