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Angel McCoughtry’s title chase moves to Minnesota, Briann January fits in with championship culture in Seattle

Angel McCoughtry is teaming up with Sylvia Fowles and Napheesa Collier as a member of the Minnesota Lynx, while Briann January will look to aid Sue Bird’s last dance with the Seattle Storm.

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Atlanta Dream v Minnesota Lynx
Miss Minnesota Lindsay Whalen (left) can now cheer on Angel McCoughtry (center) because McCoughtry will be a member of Whalen’s beloved Lynx.
Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images

On Friday, The Next reported that Angel McCoughtry will be signing with the Minnesota Lynx and Briann January will be agreeing to a deal with the Seattle Storm.

The Star Tribune in Minneapolis also reported the news about McCoughtry.

One thing that immediately comes to mind with McCoughtry is that she was swept by the Lynx in the Finals twice as a member of the Atlanta Dream. McCoughtry is widely considered to be the second-best current WNBA player without a championship (after Tina Charles) and signed with the Las Vegas Aces in 2020, creating a superteam, in her pursuit of a title. McCoughtry contributed to a runner-up effort in 2020, a season where the Aces were missing superstar Liz Cambage due to a medical opt out. In 2021, the Aces were the favorites to win it all with Cambage back and Chelsea Gray added to the roster, but McCoughtry missed the entire season with a torn ACL and meniscus and the still-favored Aces were upset in a heartbreaking five-game semifinal series against Diana Taurasi and the Phoenix Mercury.

It’s hard not to get caught up in what could have been in Vegas, especially when McCoughtry also came oh so close in Atlanta, losing in three Finals, and in college, where she also went title-less and made it to the national championship game as a senior in 2009. Now McCoughtry joins the team that has most frequently forced her to finish second (2011 and 2013).

Three of Minnesota’s six Finals-game victories over McCoughtry came by double digits. Games 1 and 2 of the 2013 Finals were both won by 25. McCoughtry scored 38 points in Game 2 of the 2011 Finals and averaged 31 points over the course of that series. She also scored 35 points in Game 3 of the 2010 Finals against the Storm.

The 2011 and 2013 Lynx were all-time great teams featuring the big four of Maya Moore, Seimone Augustus, Lindsay Whalen and Rebekkah Brunson. The Lynx went on to win championships in 2015 and 2017 as well and were the No. 3 seed in last year’s playoffs so they are still a logical destination for someone hoping to make one last run at titles. They currently have superstars Sylvia Fowles and Napheesa Collier and also brought in some great talent in Kayla McBride, Aerial Powers and Natalie Achonwa last offseason. Plus there’s 2020 Rookie of the Year Crystal Dangerfield.

According to The Next’s free agency projections, the Lynx have a shot at keeping Layshia Clarendon too. If they keep Dangerfield, Rennia Davis and this year’s No. 8 pick, pay Fowles The Next’s projected $182,000 and pay Clarendon the projected $108,000, they could pay McCoughtry $133,445, which is only slightly below the projected $138,000.

McCoughtry isn’t the same player who won scoring titles in 2012 and 2013, but she averaged a very good 14.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.3 steals in just 20 minutes per game in 2020.

In addition to 2021, McCoughtry sat out the 2019 season because of a knee injury. Coming back from an ACL tear at age 35 is a daunting task, but the WNBA legend is determined.

In a classy move by now former Aces head coach Bill Laimbeer last season, McCoughtry checked into a game in Atlanta, the city where she left an everlasting mark over ten seasons, even though she hadn't fully recovered.


January’s return to the Connecticut Sun was in doubt before free agency began and the Sun reportedly signing Courtney Williams made it even less likely they would retain her.

January is one of the best perimeter defenders in the league — she made the All-Defensive First Team last year. Her age (35) and lack of scoring pop when compared to Williams made her expendable from Connecticut’s perspective. The Sun can win a championship without her. But she’s a solid addition for Seattle, which may lose a great defender in Jordin Canada in free agency. She brings with her championship experience, having won a title as Tamika Catchings’ teammate on the 2012 Indiana Fever. January started all four games of the 2012 Finals, averaging 35.3 minutes, 10 points, 3.8 assists and 1.5 steals. She scored 15 points in the series clincher.