The 2021 Washington Mystics roster is more-or-less set before the beginning of this season which will likely start around May. They have signed the key free agents they needed to like Tina Charles and Natasha Cloud, extended key young players like Ariel Atkins and brought in other impact free agents like Alysha Clark. Along with franchise player and 2019 WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne, the Mystics will have a good shot at another Finals run this year.
There is still one player whom I didn’t talk about: Emma Meesseman, who hasn’t re-signed with Washington or any WNBA team.
As of yesterday, I made it clear that it’s unlikely she will be a part of the team’s long-term future though it’s possible to squeeze her in this season with the Mystics’ remaining cap space. After all, Washington doesn’t have enough cap space this year or next to accommodate a maximum level salary which she has commanded for several years given the commitments they have already. And she has skipped parts of most seasons since 2017 when her native Belgium began its rapid rise on the FIBA Europe and global stages.
General Manager and Head Coach Mike Thibault said in a conference call yesterday that the Mystics were not planning to have her to start the season, certainly an indication that Meesseman may not play this year. But one thing I never said, however, was that she officially decided to skip the 2021 WNBA season altogether.
Yesterday, there were reports, at least one stemming from an online discussion forum involving some players and reporters, where someone announced that Meesseman was in fact skipping the 2021 WNBA season. Meesseman certainly learned about it and wanted to set the record straight.
Today, Meesseman denied that she has decided to skip this season in a tweet published this morning. She is still undecided and will make that decision after the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
Always amazing to see how media knows my decisions before I do myself. I have not decided anything yet for the upcoming WNBA season. One thing that I am sure is that if I will go, it’ll be only after the Olympics. Thank you.— Emma Meesseman (@EmmaMeesseman) March 11, 2021
Now that we know Meesseman is still leaving the door open for the 2021 WNBA season, things can get interesting for the league.
Meesseman is the 2019 WNBA Finals MVP, a 2015 All-Star and one of Russian club UMMC Ekaterinburg’s franchise players overseas. She is now in her prime. And most importantly, Meesseman is an unrestricted free agent since Washington decided not to core her this season.
And since she can sign with any WNBA team, Meesseman would likely be the most in-demand free agent during the Olympic Break, especially if she decides to play in the WNBA season.
If Meesseman decides to play in the WNBA this summer, would you want the Mystics to sign her to a rest-of-season contract after the Olympic break knowing that it will be difficult to keep her long term? Or would you prefer that the Mystics let her walk? Let us know in the comments below.