Signing Odyssey Sims to an offer sheet may have forced the hand of the Los Angeles Sparks.
The Phoenic Mercury have had an interesting free agency period. They signed Odyssey Sims to an offer sheet which the Los Angeles Sparks wasted no time in matching. This then left the Sparks with very little cap space to re-sign all the talent that they had on their roster.
Then the Mercury announce that they have signed Sparks free agent Essence Carson, an 11 year veteran to a contract for next season. However, the way this all happened makes me wonder if Carson was the target the whole time for this franchise.
Carson, who averaged 7.5 points and 2.6 rebounds per game last season for the Sparks is also a championship winner. She was also part of the 2016 championship team so knows what it takes to win.
However, if you look a little deeper at the structure of the Mercury, there is a little evidence that Sims was never the target of the Mercury, Carson always was. Sims would have been a wonderful addition but was never the end goal.
Sims is an extremely talented guard, but the Mercury have an extremely talented back court in Briann January and the greatest two guard of all time Diana Taurasi. Their backup rotation is Leilani Mitchell and the up and coming Yvonne Turner. This is solid unit which will can match any back court in the WNBA.
Up front is Brittney Griner is at the pivot and the Mercury looked at their bet when DeWanna Bonner played the four. She is yet to be re-signed but as she is cored, she will surely put her mark on the page soon.
What the Mercury need is a wing who is a solid 3-point shooter and Carson is just that. She is a 32.5 percent career shooter from deep. Last season Carson went above her career average, going at 36.1 percent on the season. If she can keep this up for the Mercury next year they are going to be really hard to stop.
This means that the Mercury starting line-up next season is going to feature four different 3-point shooters who have to be respected meaning that one of the most dominant paint players in Brittney Griner is going to have one-on-one coverage. There are so few players who can take Griner without help.
The Mercury were so close to the finals last season. They pushed the eventual champions the Seattle Storm further than any other team could. What is scary for the rest of the league is by signing Carson the Mercury just got better. If the Mercury manipulated the free agent market to get her, then this was brilliant work.
For full free agency coverage check out our 2019 free agency central.