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Mystics waive Megan Gustafson, Stella Johnson and Kiara Leslie

It is not surprising that Washington waived Gustafson due to an injury hardship. But the additional moves were done to allow for more cap flexibility. They won’t really affect whether Emma Meesseman comes back after the Olympics.

Washington Mystics v Atlanta Dream
Kiara Leslie was cut by the Washington Mystics earlier today.
Photo by Adam Hagy/NBAE via Getty Images

On Monday, the Washington Mystics announced that they waived Megan Gustafson, Stella Johnson and Kiara Leslie.

Of the three players waived, Gustafson’s departure is the least surprising. She was on an injury hardship contract and played in all three games of Washington’s road trip, averaging 4 points and 4.7 rebounds per game in 12.3 minutes per game. I was pleased by her performance during the road trip, but expected her release due to the circumstances.

Johnson played sparingly for the Mystics this season, only averaging 5.2 minutes per game in six appearances. I am a little surprised that Leslie is cut. She was the team’s first round pick in 2019 and played 19 games last season, including 10 starts. This season however, Leslie only averaged 9.5 minutes per game in nine appearances.

General Manager and Head Coach Mike Thibault addressed the moves in a conference call on Monday afternoon. When asked about the moves, he explained that Johnson’s and Leslie’s contracts would be guaranteed for the season if they remained on the roster after today. Since they weren’t playing much, he determined that it was better to let them go. It is possible that they can bring back Johnson, Leslie or Gustafson on seven-day contracts, for example.

The moves are also not expected to affect the situation with Emma Meesseman who led Belgium to the bronze medal in FIBA Women’s EuroBasket yesterday. They have saved some cap room to sign her after the Olympics and she still hasn’t decided what to do yet.