On the first day of free agency, they were already talking, across two continents. Lynx coach and General Manager Cheryl Reeve was in Minnesota, Kayla McBride in Istanbul, where she was playing for a Turkish team.
"Did you get something?" Reeve asked.
"Not yet," McBride answered.
The next day McBride walked into the Fenerbahce team locker room, and it was there, in her locker stall. A box. Inside: Some Lynx gear. Confetti. A blueprint.
A blueprint? Neither went into much detail. Trade secrets, you know. But it's clear Reeve was letting McBride know how much she was wanted, and how she would fit in.
What Reeve didn't know was that the Lynx might have had McBride at hello.
"I felt I knew before I told Coach," McBride said, via a Zoom conference call Tuesday.
McBride and Reeve talked Tuesday about the free agency deal that brings McBride, about to enter her eighth season, to Minnesota.
For McBride, the reason is simple: The Lynx win. She began her career playing against the Lynx in the middle of their dynastic run to four titles in seven seasons. She watched as Reeve retooled the team, which essentially was broken up after the 2018 season, while still making the playoffs. In the WNBA bubble last summer, McBride said she saw a Lynx team that was tight, played together, and reached the league semifinals with center Sylvia Fowles sidelined.
"They were in the semis last year, just like us," said McBride, who played for the Las Vegas Aces. "In this league, that counts, how you show up every day, how you compete every day. That doesn't go unnoticed. It was a no-brainer to want to be a part of that. Being a part of it is going to make me better. And the skill set I have will help the team as well."
Having retooled with consecutive WNBA rookies of the year in Napheesa Collier and Crystal Dangerfield, and with Fowles still at an All-Star level, the new CBA couldn't have come at a better time. This is the second free agency period under the new deal, and the amount of movement — and available players — is unprecedented.
The Lynx, with several players still on their rookie deals, were able to pounce, agreeing to terms with McBride, Natalie Achonwa and Aerial Powers. Salaries in the WNBA are not made public; the average league salary is $100,000.
Reeve talked about adding pieces that would take her team to a new level, and her goal: to win another title with a different team.
McBride, meanwhile, talked about joining a team on the rise. Relegated to a large extent to three-point shooting in a Las Vegas offense built around post players A'ja Wilson and Liz Cambage, the 5-11 guard will be expected to score on post-ups, to create her own shot. She will have a freedom she might not have had before.
"For me it was, 'How can I take my game to the next level?' " McBride said. "Where can I push myself, be pushed? I can't play basketball forever. It was important to go to a place where I could get better right away."
And, of course, to win. The Lynx are looking for title No. 5, McBride for her first.
"Hopefully bring another championship to Minnesota," she said when asked what her primary goal was. "Thanks for having me."