With Aerial Powers on board, Lynx part ways with Odyssey Sims

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The Lynx cleared room under the salary cap and on their roster Monday by officially adding free-agent wing Aerial Powers and saying goodbye to guard Odyssey Sims.

The team’s roster, as a hectic WNBA free-agent period settles down, came into focus as it sent Sims, the exclusive negotiating rights to center Temi Fagbenle, and their 2022 draft picks in the first and third rounds to Indiana for a 2022 second-round pick.

The Fever put Sims, an All-Star in 2019, on waivers, and she will become a free agent if she clears.

The Lynx moves, along with last week’s trade of Mikiah Herbert Harrigan to Seattle for a first-round pick, were to make room for free-agent additions Kayla McBride, Natalie Achonwa and Powers.

“We had to make a decision,” said Cheryl Reeve, the Lynx coach and general manager. “Getting both Aerial and Kayla was good for the future. We certainly think we could use Odyssey as well, but the cap only gets you so far.”


JEFF WHEELER • JWHEELER@STARTRIBUNE.COM
Odyssey Sims, who was traded to Indiana on Monday, had a career year when she joined the Lynx in 2019, averaging 14.5 points, and she was stellar in the playoffs last year, averaging 15.3 points over four games.
The Lynx clearly have come to a couple conclusions.

First, McBride and Powers, with their position flexibility, are an upgrade. Both can shoot the three, both are good at coming off pin-downs, a facet of Reeve’s offense she has not been able to use in recent seasons, and both can post up smaller guards.

Second, Crystal Dangerfield’s emergence as a force has solidified the team at the point.

Meanwhile, with Powers, the Lynx have another player capable of playing multiple positions. Reeve sees her mainly as a shooting guard, but also capable of playing small forward in a smaller lineup. In some situations she could be the primary ballhandler for short stretches.

“I understand her skill set,” Reeve said. “She’s a dynamic player. As a guard she likes to post up and shoot the three. She is physical, and she can finish at the rim. She’s getting better.”

The 5-9 Powers was taken by Dallas with the fifth pick in the 2016 draft. Traded to Washington midseason in 2018, her game flourished there. In 2020 she was off to a career year, averaging 16.3 points ins six games, all starts, before a hamstring injury ended her season.

With McBride and Powers able to play multiple perimeter positions, and with Dangerfield, Rachel Banham and Lexie Brown on the roster, there wasn’t room for Sims.

Acquired in a trade with Los Angeles in 2019, she had her best season that year with the Lynx, starting all 34 games and averaging 14.5 points and 5.4 assists while being named to the All-Star Game for the first time. Her 2020 season was delayed by the birth of her son, Jaiden. She joined the Lynx midseason, appearing in 13 games, starting seven, and averaging 9.4 points and 3.5 assists.

Meanwhile, the addition of Achonwa and anticipated return from injury by Jessica Shepard gives the Lynx depth in the post. Fagbenle joined the Lynx in 2017 and played three seasons before opting out last year. In 69 career games, including two starts, she has averaged 3.1 points and 1.9 rebounds.

The Lynx are deep at forward, with starters Napheesa Collier and Damiris Dantas and reserves Achonwa — who will also back up center Sylvia Fowles — Bridget Carleton and Shepard.


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