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Friday links: Looming offseason decisions for Connecticut Sun, Bill Laimbeer fined for controversial remarks, Elena Delle Donne focused on building her brand

10 links to get you ready for a four-game Friday or the offseason, depending on where your favorite team stands.

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All-Star center Tina Charles is one of four restricted free agents for the Connecticut Sun this offseason.
All-Star center Tina Charles is one of four restricted free agents for the Connecticut Sun this offseason.

The 2013 WNBA Playoffs aren't set mathematically, but it might not be a stretch to say that the pecking order of haves and have nots has already begun to round into shape. So we'll begin with the have nots for today after last night's single game and move to games with playoff implications tonight.

  • John Altavilla of the Hartford Courant wasted no point getting down to the crux of the Connecticut Sun's season in his recap of their 91-77 loss to the Minnesota Lynx last night: "The summer trudges along for the Connecticut Sun. Postseason plausibility drains steadily, oil from the tanker beached at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. Frankly, there is only so much the Sun can do to stop the gap at this point." Read more >>>
  • Marc Allard of the Norwich Bulletin starts to look at the looming roster decisions for the Connecticut Sun this offseason with the team's playoff hopes rapidly fading. Tina Charles, Kelsey Griffin, Kalana Greene and Allison Hightower are all restricted free agents who the Sun will have to make decisions on. Read more >>>
  • Jake Sundstrom of Silver Star Stream has set up a page to track what we'll call "magic and tragic" numbers for the league's teams as the playoffs approach. Needless to say, the Sun have an uphill battle if they want to return to the playoffs this season. Similarly, the outcome of tonight's meeting between the San Antonio Silver Stars and Tulsa Shock will be significant for both teams if they hope to make it to the postseason. Read more >>>
  • Jayda Evans of the Seattle Times reports in her preview of tonight's game between the Storm and Mercury that Shekinna Stricklen is listed as day-to-day with an Achilles injury and Noelle Quinn could replace her in the starting lineup tonight. The Storm enter tonight's game just 1.5 games behind the Phoenix Mercury for third in the Western Conference, but also three games ahead of the Silver Stars. Read more >>>
  • Odeen Domingo of the Arizona Republic previews Tina Thompson's final (regular season?) visit to the US Airways Center to play the Phoenix Mercury tonight. While Thompson has already reached plenty of milestones, tonight she'll move into second on the league's all-time rebounding list with just one rebound. Read more >>>
  • Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune reports that New York Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer has been fined for his comment about Minnesota Lynx star Maya Moore after Sunday's loss in Minneapolis. The Liberty and Lynx will meet again on Tuesday in New York. Tonight, the Liberty remain on the road to face the Chicago Sky. Read more >>>
  • Andrew Lovell of espnW looks at Sylvia Fowles' role in the Chicago Sky's success this season, going through her statistics since the All-Star break and noting the impact of the spacing Elena Delle Donne creates for her. Of particular interest is what assistant coach Tree Rollins has helped improve on: "...this season, Rollins has worked closely with Fowles on her patience and offensive positioning. In years past, Fowles would duck into the paint too early or too aggressively, and often find herself either shut out of the play or called for a three-second violation." Read more >>>
  • Danny Ecker of Crain's Chicago Business had a feature about Elena Delle Donne's focus on building her brand back on Monday. So far, Delle Donne has three endorsement deals with $250,000 annually. But more important for the Sky, attendance and revenues are up. Delle Donne plans to stick around during the long WNBA offseason to continue building the brand of her and her team. Read more >>>
  • Anna North of Salon wrote about the lack of celebrity female journalists of the caliber of Nate Silver. North submits that it comes down to the difference in social consequences associated with making controversial claims. "Nearly everything in society is set up to reward women who are conciliatory and punish women who are not. Nice women may not get their own editorial operations at ESPN, but they are more likely to get the approval of their peers. Confrontational women get pictures of their beaten-up faces posted on the Internet." The answer, North concludes, is not just for women to change, but for the environment that creates that dynamic to change. Read more >>>

There were actually more quality links than was reasonable to post today - I try to hold myself to 10! - but feel free to drop any further links you have in the comments or in a fanshot. If you have a longer commentary to share with the community, writeup a fan post.