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Re-energized Augustus may play past this season

/ 02:54 PM April 26, 2020
Simone Augustus

FILE – In this Aug. 17, 2018, file photo, Connecticut Sun guard Jasmine Thomas defends against Minnesota Lynx forward Seimone Augustus during the second half of a WNBA basketball game in Uncasville, Conn. Augustus has left theLynx after 14 seasons to join the Los Angeles Sparks. The All-WNBA guard Augustus was a key piece of four championship teams in Minnesota, which drafted her with the first overall pick out of LSU in 2006. With Maya Moore on hiatus from the sport and Lindsay Whalen and Rebekkah Brunson retired, the Lynx are in rebuilding mode. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day via AP, File)

A move to a new team for the first time in her career might have convinced Seimone Augustus to play past this season .

Augustus signed with the Los Angeles Sparks on Feb. 20 after playing her entire 14-year career with the Minnesota Lynx. The veteran guard had previously said that she thought that 2020 would be her final season.

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“To be honest, my mind is kind of open to coming back,” Augustus said on a conference call from her home in Louisiana on Friday. “A lot of that is if we do have a season, how well I play, how my body feels, how my mind feels. But I’m not closed to maybe playing another season if possible.”

It was the first time that the former All-Star, who turns 36 next week, had talked to the media since she signed with the rival Sparks. Augustus had posted on an Instagram video last month that she was disappointed with the Lynx and the negotiations they had over re-signing her.

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“I understand where they are as an organization and where I am as a player,” said Augustus. “It’s hard to try to rebuild, but also honor and do the right things by a player who’s been there so long. I just wanted to go out with a bang. Unfortunately, we couldn’t come to an agreement on that. It came to opening the door to see what was out there.”

Augustus was surprised when Los Angeles reached out. The two teams met in back-to-back WNBA Finals in 2016 and 2017 and have had many memorable matchups. She wasn’t too worried about moving to the other side of the rivalry since she had played with many of the Sparks players overseas or on U.S. Olympic teams, including Nneka Ogwumike, Candace Parker and Chelsea Gray..

“I played with Nneka overseas, so she’s probably the one I’ve talked to the most,” she said. “I’ve been around Chelsea a little bit with USA Basketball. Candace, the only message I really received from her was like, ‘Congrats, glad you’re here. Let’s get it.’ And that’s all I really needed to hear. We’re going to work to achieve our goal, which is possibly to get a championship for the city.”

Augustus is coming off an injury-plagued season where she only played in 12 games for the Lynx and averaged 3.8 points. She said she had a good conversation with Sparks coach Derek Fisher about her role with her new team. They foresee her providing a veteran leadership role that was vacated when former Sparks guard Alana Beard retired.

“When I’m out there, I’ll play my minutes and play them hard, give the team whatever I’ve got,” Augustus said. “I’ve always been perfect at just finding my spots; my jumper has been my bread and butter.”

For now Augustus is waiting for the league to see if it can play this year. Training camps were supposed to open this weekend, but the WNBA postponed the start indefinitely because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“My bags have been packed for a while,” Augustus said. “I’ll be ready.”

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TAGS: Basketball, Los Angeles Sparks, SEASON, Simone Augustus, WNBA
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