The Washington Mystics are now entering their long offseason after a first round playoff exit in 2020. Their hopes of repeating their championship performance from last year were dashed when numerous starters, including 2019 WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne, Natasha Cloud and LaToya Sanders sat out the season for personal or health reasons.
And Tina Charles, who was acquired from the New York Liberty as part of a three-team deal in exchange for multiple draft picks and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough also skipped the 2020 season. Charles is officially entering unrestricted free agency this year, so it’s imperative that the Mystics sign her, or that trade will set them back for years to come.,
Fortunately, there is good news regarding Charles. Yesterday, Mystics General Manager and Head Coach Mike Thibault spoke to media regarding the offseason. He announced that Charles intends on returning in 2021.
"Tina has assured us she's returning" - @coachthibault on @tinacharles31 #WNBA— Howard Megdal (@howardmegdal) September 25, 2020
Charles’ return would mean that she would form a very strong frontcourt with Delle Donne and Myisha Hines-Allen, who had a breakout season and finished second in Most Improved Player voting. Both Delle Donne and Hines-Allen are under contract and Charles’ addition would give Washington one of the best, if not the best frontcourt rotation in the WNBA.
So where does Emma Meesseman fall into this? Like Charles, she is an unrestricted free agent, and the Mystics also want her to return. That said, next year is an Olympic and Women’s EuroBasket year, which would influence the Belgian star’s availability.
No detailed talks with free-agent-to-be Emma Meesseman yet. They want her back. Sounds like she wants to be back. Could use the core designation on her, but that has not been decided.— Kareem Copeland (@kareemcopeland) September 25, 2020
It’s going to be difficult to re-sign Meesseman and Charles when there are more free agents like Natasha Cloud who are priorities. And they will need cap space to re-sign Hines Allen and Ariel Atkins, who are Washington’s younger talents to larger contracts after 2021.
For now, it appears that the Mystics want to make one more run at a championship with the players who were supposed to be part of their 2020 group on paper. Here’s hoping that we get to see most of, if not all of these players back for that run.