Earlier on Friday, the Mystics announced their first major move in WNBA free agency when they matched Natasha Cloud’s offer sheet with the New York Liberty. Huw Hopkins of Double Clutch interviewed General Manager and Head Coach Mike Thibault in London during a Jr. NBA/WNBA camp when the Wizards were preparing for their match against the New York Knicks. Thibault gave the Mystics’ priorities in the video below.
Here is @WashMystics Mike Thibault talking about the prospect of @T_Cloud4 free agency recently. He sounded confident about matching offer sheets like the one offered by Liberty #wnbainsidr @WNBAinsidr @RachGall @SnottieDrippen #WNBAOffseason #wnbafreeagency @DoubleClutchUK pic.twitter.com/p2geeORFei— Huw Hopkins (@coach_huw) February 1, 2019
There are two things that stand out besides noting that the Mystics would match any offer sheet Cloud signed.
First, he considered re-signing LaToya Sanders as the team’s highest priority with unrestricted free agents. Sanders averaged 10.2 points and 6.4 rebounds last season while starting 25 games as their center for Washington in the 2018 season.
Sanders also filled in a major role for two players. First, she filled in the shoes for Krystal Thomas, who began the 2018 season as the Mystics’ starter but she declined considerably from her career-best 2017 form. And Sanders also filled in forward Emma Meesseman’s shoes due to her absence to focus on the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup for the Belgian national team. Assuming Sanders re-signs with the Mystics, she would be the presumptive starter at center for the 2019 season, possibly even if or when Meesseman returns from international play.
Second, Thibault mentioned that he was considering signing a free agent who was mulling over whether to sign with Washington or another team. Since this video was taped in January, there was no mention of which player that was.
In summary, the Mystics are probably going to have a rather quiet free agency period. This isn’t to say that Washington intend on staying with the status quo. But rather, the Mystics are one of the top teams in the WNBA now and Thibault has confidence that this team can win a championship without making drastic changes.