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Hoops Happening: Today in women’s basketball — Wednesday May 16, 2018

New York Liberty waived Shoni Schimmel? Schimmel joins her former Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer, now president of basketball operations and head coach for the Aces, in Las Vegas.

WNBA All-Star Game 2014
Shoni Schimmel

Shoni Schimmel took a leave of absence from the New York Liberty that lasted the duration of the 2017 WNBA season. She reported to the 2018 training camp with the Liberty, healthy and in what appeared to be great shape.

But, just like that, Schimmel has been waived by the Liberty following a lackluster preseason performance in which she played limited minutes. And, just like that, she has been picked up by the Las Vegas Aces, which has for its president of basketball operations and head coach none other than Bill Laimbeer (who coached Schimmel in New York before moving to Las Vegas).

Something about this roster move is verrrrry interesting. Not to seed conspiracy theories, but Lennie Briscoe usually got it right when he met every coincidence with suspicion.

Granted, the Liberty is already a guard-heavy team, so it’s possible Schimmel’s services simply were not needed. But to end up with the Aces, coached by her former Liberty coach? Rather than with literally any other team?!

My Inner Lennie forces me to ask:

  1. [GASP!] Was all of this by design? Could there have been a backroom deal between Laimbeer and Schimmel involving her intentionally tanking training camp and preseason to get waived so that he could sign her with the Aces? (I know, I know ... I feel dirty having written this, in a scream-emoji kind of way.)
  2. Social media mumblings indicate Schimmel was waived at least four days ago, back on May 12, which can be confirmed by information listed on the WNBA “Transactions” page. But the Liberty did not release the information. Why? As of publication time, there is no mention on the New York Liberty website regarding Schimmel being waived. Did the team keep this quiet to avoid fandemonium?
  3. What does this mean for high-scoring Kelsey Plum? Come to think of it: Where is Plum? She did not suit up for either of the Aces’ preseason games. Is she rehabbing injuries? Trapped in a casino basement? During the offseason, Plum averaged 8.6 points and 2.2 assists for Fenerbahce (in Turkey). So, what gives?!

Please file to the Nothing To See Here folder after reading.


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UPDATE on May 18: Kelsey Plum and several other WNBA players, including Courtney Vandersloot and Aces teammate Kayla McBride are suspended at the start of the 2018 WNBA season due to playing in the KBSL Finals where Yakin Dogu and Fenerbahçe are playing for the title. The Finals do not end until May 21.

Here is the list of WNBA players who are suspended because they are still overseas.

  • Chicago Sky - Astou Ndour, Courtney Vandersloot
  • Las Vegas Aces - Isabelle Harrison, Kayla McBride, Kelsey Plum
  • Los Angeles Sparks - Jantel Lavender and Maria Vadeeva. Vadeeva has still not reported to L.A. though she played for Dynamo Kursk in Russia, not a Turkish team.
  • New York Liberty - Kia Vaughn