Minnesota Lynx agree to buyout with former All-Star Angel McCoughtry

The Minnesota Lynx are buying out the contact of forward Angel McCoughtry and have waived guard Odyssey Sims, two players it was thought would be important to the team's success in 2022.

Instead, both are gone a week into the WNBA season.

McCoughtry, 35, signed with Minnesota as a free agent in February. She played two games for the Lynx, averaging 6.0 points, after missing all of last season with the Las Vegas Aces with a knee injury.

She spent the first 10 years of her WNBA career in Atlanta after being picked No. 1 by the Dream in the 2009 draft, then went to Las Vegas as a free agent in 2020. While her first season with Aces was a success -- she averaged 14.4 points and 5.1 rebounds as Las Vegas made it to the 2020 WNBA Finals -- injuries have been an issue for her the past few years. A knee injury ended her 2018 season early and cost her the 2019 season.

"Minnesota is a great organization and a class act," McCoughtry said in a statement. "Thank you to Cheryl Reeve, the coaching staff and my teammates for the opportunity to come to Minnesota. Although the organization has been very patient with my injury and helping me heal my body, sometimes it's about what fits best for both parties. I believe in myself and I know I will be all the way back to perform at the highest level. To my fans, thanks for your support during this time. It's because of your support that I'll be back and ready to give the game all I got."

The undisclosed amount the Lynx paid McCoughtry in the buyout will count against their salary cap, while any money she agrees to give up is removed from the cap.

"On behalf of the Lynx organization and players, I want to thank Angel for her belief in the Minnesota Lynx when she chose us in free agency," Lynx coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve said in a statement. "Angel is one of the all-time greats in the WNBA, and we wish her the very best."

As for Sims, 33, she was the No. 2 draft pick in 2014 by Tulsa and previously played for the Lynx in 2019 and 2020. She signed to return to the Lynx on May 3, just three days before the season started.

The Lynx made other roster moves Thursday, including signing guard Evina Westbrook, the No. 21 pick out of UConn in last month's draft, to a hardship contract. Westbrook was drafted by Seattle but waived May 4 by the Storm. The Lynx also released three players who previously had been signed to hardship deals: guard Yvonne Turner and forwards Nina Milic and Rennia Davis, who was Minnesota's first-round draft pick in 2021.

After adding Westbrook, the Lynx now have nine players on their roster but two of those are currently out with injuries: forwards Damiris Dantas (foot) and Natalie Achonwa (hamstring). Guard Kayla McBride has missed Minnesota's first three games due to overseas play. The Lynx also are without 2019 rookie of the year Napheesa Collier, who is due to give birth in May.

The Lynx, 0-3, next face defending champion Chicago on Saturday in Minneapolis.