The 2021 WNBA free agency period continues to surprise. After the Chicago Sky convinced Candace Parker to leave the Los Angeles Sparks and return to her hometown, the Minnesota Lynx have now made a big splash of their own by agreeing to deals with three players: Kayla McBride, Aerial Powers and Natalie Achonwa.
Late on Wednesday night, McBride confirmed to WSlam that she would be joining the Lynx, saying, "After talking to coach Reeve and the Minnesota staff, I know this is where I'm going to take my game to the next level. And I know a lot of people are counting me out or doubting me."
Powers, meanwhile, confirmed to Yahoo Sports that she was planning on moving to Minnesota. "What's up Minnesota Lynx fans," Powers said in a statement. "I'm ready to do my thing and team up with Sylvia Fowles, Kayla McBride and the Rookie of the Year Crystal Dangerfield. This is just the beginning."
As for the news of the Achonwa signing, that comes from a report by Doug Feinberg of the Associated Press, who indicated that the Canadian center would sign a multi-year deal.
Teams were able to start negotiating with players on Jan. 15, but none of these deals can become official until Feb. 1, when the moratorium ends. But while the Lynx will have to wait a few days until they can introduce their new players, they'll be secure in the knowledge that they've made a significant upgrade to their roster.
Last season, the Lynx surprised everyone by claiming the No. 4 seed and advancing to the semifinals. Though they were swept by the eventual champions, the Seattle Storm, it was an impressive showing from the club, especially considering Sylvia Fowles missed most of the season through injury. Napheesa Collier continued her ascent to stardom, Crystal Dangerfield became the first second-round pick to win Rookie of the Year and they were one of only three teams to finish in the top five in both offensive and defensive rating.
With the additions of McBride and Powers -- arguably the two best wings on the market -- and Achonwa -- frontcourt depth and protection against another Fowles injury -- the Lynx are all of a sudden right there among the serious contenders at the top of the league.
It also doesn't hurt that they stole McBride and Powers away from what figures to be two of their main rivals, the Aces and Mystics. It's still early, and other moves will be coming, but the Lynx have established themselves as one of the big winners this offseason.