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The Minnesota Lynx just shook up their roster three days before the start of the WNBA season. The team announced the signing of guard Odyssey Sims on Tuesday. As part of that signing, the team waived Layshia Clarendon, Crystal Dangerfield, Rennia Davis, Yvonne Turner and the team's two 2022 draft picks, Kayla Jones and Hannah Sjerven.
The most surprising release is Clarendon, who started 20 games with the team last season. Clarendon averaged 10.4 points and 5.7 assists with the Lynx in 2021. Clarendon was not happy with the news.
— Layshia Clarendon (@Layshiac) May 3, 2022
Dangerfield saw her stats drop off in her second season. She averaged 7.7 points in 2021 after putting up 16.2 points per game in 2020. Turner has not appeared in a WNBA game since 2019, but has played overseas.
Despite being selected with the No. 9 overall pick in last year's draft, Davis — who missed her entire rookie season with a foot injury — was also released. Both of the Lynx's 2022 draft picks, Jones and Sjerven, were also waived. The Lynx selected Jones with the No. 22 overall pick. It took Sjerven at No. 28 overall.
Lynx head coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve hinted Sunday big changes were coming to the franchise.
Reeve continued: "And I can tell you we will not start the season with a selfish team. It's not going to happen. What you do in training camp is what you do in the regular season and I've seen enough." @TheNextHoops https://t.co/EUyPNbE1pH
— Lucas Seehafer (@seehafer_) May 1, 2022
Why did Lynx release Layshia Clarendon now?
The timing of the Lynx's announcement was deliberate. Waived players can sit on waivers for two days before they are signed. The Lynx are likely hoping to bring one or two of those players back on hardship exemption deals.
WNBA minutiae reminder: We're probably going to see some slightly unexpected players cut by Tuesday/Wednesday this week, so that they have the 48hrs necessary to clear waivers in order to be re-signed on hardship exceptions before the opening games. #WNBA
— Richard Cohen (@RichardCohen1) May 1, 2022
Hardship deals do not count against the salary cap, and the Lynx are extremely close to exceeding the cap. With Napheesa Collier expecting her first child in May, the team will have a hardship spot open. At least one of the players the Lynx released could return to fill that spot.