On the first day of WNBA free agency Friday, the Lynx announced the signing of free-agent forward Karima Christmas-Kelly. And on Saturday, they announced the re-signing of Seimone Augustus, a longtime face of the franchise.
Terms of Augustus’ deal were not disclosed.
In Christmas-Kelly, the Lynx get a versatile defender with a high motor, a player whom Lynx head coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve has appreciated from afar for years. Augustus will return for a 14th season with the team after averaging 10.8 points last season.
Listed at 6 feet tall, Christmas-Kelly, 29, is capable of playing both forward positions and defending at three positions. Coming off knee surgery that ended her season last year, Christmas-Kelly will be ready to go by training camp.
“I’m excited for this new journey and fully trusting this organization with the next step in my career,” Christmas-Kelly said in a team release.
Christmas-Kelly has made the playoffs in five of her eight WNBA seasons; she was a part of the Indiana Fever team that beat the Lynx in the finals in 2012.
“She’s a physical defender,” Reeve said. “She gets deflections. She’s hard to play against. Add to that who she is as a person — she’s a great teammate.”
Augustus, meanwhile, will enter the 2019 season needing just six points to pass Becky Hammon for 10th on the WNBA’s all-time scoring list.
The two early moves likely will not be the last for the Lynx this offseason. The roster is being retooled after the retirement of Lindsay Whalen and the uncertainty surrounding Maya Moore after reports she was considering not playing this season. Power forward Rebekkah Brunson is aiming to return but is still dealing with postconcussions symptoms.
Even team depth could be an issue. Both Cecilia Zandalasini (Italy) and Temi Fagbenle (Great Britain) are slated to play for their countries in the Olympic qualifying tournament in Europe in June.
In a best-case scenario both would come to Minnesota following the end of EuroLeague schedule, play with the Lynx, leave for the tournament and then return. But both could opt to stay with their team in the lead-up to the qualifying tournament, which would mean neither would be in Minnesota until July — more than a dozen games into a 34-game season that opens May 25 for the Lynx.
The Lynx will be looking to add depth in the post and at guard, behind Augustus and point guard Danielle Robinson, coming back from ankle surgery that ended her 2018 season.