The Storm is willing to be patient with Monica Wright, out indefinitely after undergoing knee surgery, because the team is in a long-term rebuild. The Storm is guaranteed to have Wright for two seasons, giving her time to rehabilitate in hopes of at least one productive season.
Monica Wright landed in Seattle on Wednesday — 17 months after the Storm began attempts to sign the guard.
A two-time WNBA champion with the Minnesota Lynx, Wright was pursued by then-Storm coach and general manager Brian Agler. But on Monday, it was Alisha Valavanis, the team’s first-year general manager, who was able to swing the deal.
Seattle swapped guard Renee Montgomery and the Storm’s 2016 second-round draft pick for Wright.
In March 2014, Agler submitted an offer sheet to acquire the 5-10 guard. She signed it, but Minnesota matched the deal and signed her to a three-year contract.
Most Read Sports Stories
- Since announcing its team name, the Seattle Kraken has made monster sales. Here's why. VIEW
- Pete Carroll: Conscience of players, coaches serves as bubble for Seahawks' COVID-19 prevention
- How will the Seahawks use Marquise Blair and Jordyn Brooks this season? Pete Carroll has ideas
- The top 5 things we learned from Seahawks coach Pete Carroll's Monday news conference
- Seahawks mailbag: Is there a deadline for a Jadeveon Clowney decision?
“We’ve been committed to this acquisition, because Monica is the right fit for this roster,” Valavanis said.
The move was questioned, however. Wright is out indefinitely after arthroscopic right-knee surgery July 16. She also has a reputation as being a strong defender, limited offensively.
The Storm stated in January that it’s emphasizing offense. And Montgomery averaged 7.1 points and 3.0 assists to help Seattle have the league’s best bench in terms of scoring.
“Monica’s the all-time leading scorer at Virginia,” first-year Storm coach Jenny Boucek quickly noted of Wright, who amassed 2,540 points for the Cavaliers. “Monica can score. She was in a role with Minnesota.”
Wright, 27, has also been injured the past two seasons. She missed the first 10 games of the 2014 season due to arthroscopic surgery on her left knee.
Wright missed the first five games of this season due to a strained right calf, then needed the latest knee surgery. She said Thursday that the root of the problem is overuse from playing year-round.
Seattle (5-13) is willing to be patient with Wright because the team is in a long-term rebuild. The Storm is guaranteed to have Wright for two seasons, giving her time to rehabilitate injuries slowly in hopes of at least one productive season.
Montgomery, 28, will be a free agent at the end of this season. The Lynx (12-4) initiated the trade for her this week because of injuries to All-Star guards Lindsay Whalen (eye) and Seimone Augustus (knee).
“She’s going to a team that sees great value in her right now,” Valavanis said of Montgomery, who was drafted fourth overall by Minnesota in 2009.
“As much as we want to compete today and provide an incredible experience for our fans, I’m staying focused on bringing championship basketball back to Seattle. These decisions are in alignment with that.”
Montgomery was the backup point guard to Sue Bird. Against New York on July 21, Angel Goodrich, who was signed in June, moved into the role.
Overcoming symptoms of a stomach bug, Goodrich played 20 minutes for the second time in her seven appearances this season. She finished with four points in an 81-77 loss at KeyArena.
The Storm resumes play Wednesday at the Washington Mystics.
Wright began work with the Storm’s sports-performance coach, Susan Borchardt, last week. Wright said her knee felt fine after the session, but she hasn’t met with the team’s medical staff and doesn’t know her timetable for return.
The trade was “a shock” to her, but Wright believes her history with Boucek will make the transition easier. Boucek is also a protégé of legendary Virginia coach Debbie Ryan and has been a mentor to Wright since 2008.
“Jenny has already made it great by sharing her mindset for the future of this team,” Wright said.
“There are some things about my injuries that have caused me to have a little lack of confidence (lately), but I’m the type of player that just wants to come into a situation and do whatever the team needs, whether that be offense or defense — whatever.”