The Storm’s Candice Dupree experiment is over.
Seattle released the 16-year veteran Friday afternoon in a move that will resonate around the WNBA but wasn’t entirely unexpected considering one of the league’s all-time great scorers had difficulty finding a meaningful role with the defending league champions.
The 36-year-old Dupree ranks fourth on the WNBA all-time scoring list with 6,822 points and is second in career games with 484.
The Storm made her its offseason priority and drew her to Seattle with a one-year, $170,000 deal, which is the richest contract in franchise history given to an incoming free agent.
According to HerHoopStats, Dupree agreed to a $142,000 buyout, which gives the Storm $28,000 in salary-cap relief to add another player.
“This in particular was a mutual agreement,” coach Noelle Quinn said before Friday’s game against the Atlanta Dream. “It just didn’t quite fit on both sides.”
After adding Dupree, it became apparent rather quickly that the seven-time All-Star would struggle with the Storm.
Dupree started two of the first four games, but the 6-foot-2 and 178-pound small forward struggled in lineups with 6-4 forward Breanna Stewart. The Storm didn’t want Stewart defending the opposing team’s post player, and Dupree was significantly disadvantaged in those matchups.
During her Storm tenure, Dupree had several conversations with Quinn and former coach Dan Hughes before he retired on May 29.
Quinn frequently tinkered with the lineups and attempted to pair All-Star point guard Sue Bird with Dupree in an attempt to coax more production out of her. Quinn had hoped Dupree would back up Stewart and assume a primary scoring role with the reserves.
“To take ownership within that (second) unit is very essential,” Quinn said last month. “To understand that we can play through her. She’s a leader in that. She’s a veteran in that. And she’s the experienced one within that unit.
“Just standing firm in that and taking ownership in the fact that whoever is in at that point, we’re going to sustain the level of play or elevate the level of play. Once adjusted to a role like that and once having the consistent rotation with that, it becomes a part of it naturally to say, ‘Hey look, I’m the one in this unit. Let’s get it going.’ ”
Dupree averaged 5.9 points and 2.5 rebounds in 16 games, which is a dramatic decline from the previous 15 years when she averaged 14.4 points and 6.6 rebounds.
The Storm has 11 active players on its roster — one shy of the maximum — after adding Cierra Burdick to a seven-day contract Thursday.
Once she clears waivers, Dupree can sign with any WNBA team. She spent the bulk of her career with the Phoenix Mercury, including a championship run in 2014, which could be a possible landing spot for the WNBA great.