After the Washington Mystics signed Ivory Latta and Armintie Herrington while letting Monique Currie sign with the Phoenix Mercury, I expected that General Manager and Head Coach Mike Thibault would talk about why the decision was made. He spoke with Monumental Network's Jumoke Davis in a lengthy video released Thursday which is embedded above.
Why Ivory Latta was re-signed
This move wasn't a surprise to me. But Thibault's rationale for re-signing Latta was two-fold. First, she has played a big part turning around the Mystics over the last couple of seasons. Second re-signing her is a sign to both other players and fans to show that the franchise is committed to rewarding good players who do good things.
Even though Latta is now 30 years old, Thibault believes that she still has enough prime left in her to grow with the young core of Bria Hartley, Tayler Hill, Emma Meesseman, and Stefanie Dolson.
Why Armintie Herrington was signed
Herrington had knee surgery over the offseason which may limit her early this season. But Thibault mentioned that adding a player who has experience playing in the WNBA Finals is valuable.
Why Monique Currie was not signed
Thibault stated that Currie was offered a one year contract extension last season, but she declined because she wanted a longer deal which she got with the Phoenix Mercury. Though he had the opportunity to core Currie, he chose not to because doing so could strain the salary cap in future years when Hill, Meesseman, Hartley, and Dolson are up for sophomore extensions. Ultimately, letting Currie go was a mutual parting of ways.
On Youth Movements
Thibault has been pretty clear on building around young players, and he says that he's committed to doing that. However, he also doesn't want to do it to the extreme. Teams like the Tulsa Shock in recent years or the Mystics' sibling team, the Washington Wizards have played rosters where young players were running the entire show, and that didn't lead to wins. In the Wizards' case, some of those young players were locker room cancers.
Thibault pleads for patience
Though Thibault has had two straight playoff seasons with the Mystics, he also isn't posturing this team to be a championship contender in 2015. The money quote was when he said that "None of this is going to come quickly for this team" at the 4:40 mark and stresses that this is going to be a multi-year process. He even implied that the 2013 and 2014 Mystics teams could have made a bigger jump win-wise than he originally anticipated...
Thibault didn't anticipate doing much in free agency, though he did pick up Herrington when she was available (after being waived by the Los Angeles Sparks in January).
The coaching staff is examining prospects over the next couple months by traveling across the country.
You can tell that Mike Thibault's got his hands full as he heads into year three with the Washington Mystics. Do I expect him to do literally everything that I want him to, especially by going young to the extreme? No, of course not.
But at the same time, I'm pleased that he is also realistic about where the Mystics are right now, while maybe keeping an eye on where they could hopefully be in a few years.