Seimone Augustus Signs Contract Extension Press Conference

Roger Griffith: So today we have invited you all here to witness one of the most important events about our off season as Seimone signs her contract here to stay and continue her career here with the Minnesota Lynx and we will get that little detail taken care of. Then we will have a chance for talking and questions. The first thing I want to say to answer one of your questions is this was one of the easiest negotiations weíve ever had. You can read all you want about Seimoneís stats, whatís really special for me here today is knowing Seimone as a person and her as a person is what made this a really simple process. Way back towards the end of last year when some of the people, when some of the teams were signing extensions with their players, I kind of talked to Seimone a little bit and said ďSeimone, youíre not going to see an extension offer from us, because when we get to talking about the future I want to get you signed up for the most years we can.Ē And Seimone said, which was music to my ears, ďRoger, you donít have to worry about me, I like being here, I want to be hereĒ and that was just a great thing to hear because thatís what makes Seimone special for me. Not what she does as a player which is obviously wonderful and extremely meaningful for our team, but sheís been for me really enjoyable to know over the four years sheís been here. I love people who have her personality, which is laid back, goes about her business, she understands what this league is about, which is about touching people one at a time. She stayed here through her rehab through the offseason, sheís been absolutely a dream for Conrad Smith, and our salespeople, our PR people to work with because sheís said it to them, and itís great when the players understand, and she said ďI know what I have to do, I know what my part in making this league successful isĒ and in that there are two parts. There is her specialness as a player and her specialness as a person. We cannot be any more blessed to have someone who matches the personality of what Minnesota is all about, better than one of the superstars of this league, good enough to be starting on a Gold Medal Olympic team, an all-star, on a points per game basis the leading scorer in the history of the league and all of that we get to enjoy in that in Minnesota. It is a very special treat to enjoy and I hope everybody here, we get to enjoy it for another four years. And that is a great day for the Minnesota Lynx.

Seimone Augustus: Like Roger said, it was a no-brainer for me to come back, itís just a great feeling to know that an organization thatís about itís business but is also a family atmosphere. Everybody gets along here, everybody has a great time from the front office down to the player so, itís one big happy family. I couldnít see myself nowhere else but here. Iíve been through the rough times here in Minnesota and my first couple of seasons here, and I was here for the good times too. You can see the team has progressed, from a team that people didnít take serious to a team that now they expect us to make the playoffs, they expect us to contend for a title, so why would I want to miss out on that. Iím happy about being here and the transitions that we made to become a championship caliber team here

Q: Seimone, itís a big day for Minnesota, and youíre wearing Saints stuff?

Seimone: Yeah, I have too. Today is the parade down in New Orleans. So I figured I would wear my Saints gear as a tribute to the Saints and what they have done for the state of Louisiana and the city of New Orleans. Iím going to parade up and down Minneapolis.

Roger:Fortunately and unfortunately Seimone won and Lindsey lost the first Minnesota vs. New Orleans competition.

Q: How long did it take to put all this together, in terms of getting everything finalized?

Seimone: Just as Roger said, he called me in his office, which is rare, because I never get called in the office. When he called me in I was nervous and he wanted to talk about contracts, and I was getting nervous. I was like ďOh my God, what is he going to say?Ē And then Roger said ďI want you here if you want to be hereĒ and it was a closed deal at that point. There is no place Iíd rather be, we have the best fans, and right now we have the best team, and we are in a great city. So why not stay here.

Q:When did that happen?

Roger: Part of it, like I said last year when other teams were doing their extensions, I explained, made sure that Seimone knew what it said in the CBA and we couldnít talk contract at that point in time, but as soon as things opened up on January 15 where we could start working contracts, I told Seimone exactly what the offer was, let her and her agent know that, and it was basically done in five minutes. Then it was just picking a date where Ė most of it was just waiting for today, a day where a lot of people could be here, a day where we could do this, a day where we could celebrate the occasion as an organization with the fans and the media.

Q: So January 15 was the day you did it?

Roger: For all intensive purposes, yeah thatís the day you couldnít officially sign anything until Feb. 1, but as of January 15 you could put offers on the table that could be verbally accepted or rejected. We wanted to make it easy on Seimone, and Seimone made it easy on us, and it could have not gone any quicker and easier. The only reason this was not on January 15 was because of the rules of not being able to sign anything until February 1st and then picking a day that was good to get together with all of you and talk about it.

Q: Seimone, in addition to it being easy you talk about the support and the family, especially going through rehab, how is it to have a team that is so behind you through a really tough stretch as well?

Seimone: It is very important to know that the organization, the teammates and the coaching staff is all behind you. Because you know it is a very depressing stage, a very tough stage to push through when you have people like Roger and Coach Reeves, and Conrad, and the rest of my teammates, they are overseas right now and they could easily be focused on what they need to do playing over there, but they are constantly asking about ďhow rehab is going, are you back on the court, how you feel, how is the leg doing.Ē That makes me want to work harder, that makes me want to do whatever I have to do to help my team out and be back with them.

Q:How far along in the rehab are you?

Seimone: A week and a half left. Iíll be able to go home and party next week.

Q:So you expect to be out there for opening day, ready to go?

Seimone: Yeah, I do

Q: Did you receive offers from any other team?

Seimone: Some other teams showed interest, but like I said I was closed minded to the situation. It was a no brainer that I was coming back.

Q:The winters here didnít scare you off?

Seimone: No, Iím still waiting on the worst of it. People keep telling me about this bad winter but I havenít seen it yet, so but the winter hasnít run me off, Iím actually enjoying it. Itís been fun to learn how to drive on the snow and the ice.

Q: Seimone, can you talk about the changes the Lynx have made and which ones you like the best?

Seimone: The player changes, the coaching changes have been great too. Just having a new coach here that changes a lot about the team. The draft we had here, bringing in Candace Wiggins, Charde Houston and Nicky Anosike, that was important because we changed the mentality of the team. We have three players that have come from winning programs that didnít expect nothing but winning, so when they came in their mindset was ďWe are going to win, this is what we are going to do, this is what we have been doingĒ and I think what hit home for me was when I saw Nicky cry our rookie season when we were about to play our last regular season game and we were going to miss the playoffs. I knew then that I had teammates that wanted to win just as much as I did and that we were going to do whatever it took to make this team as successful as possible. You know look throughout the years and this team has gotten better until you look at this year, when the team has added Rebekkah Brunson, which was another day that Roger called me into his office and he said it was a possibility that we could get her here. Youíre looking at a post player that has won a championship, a veteran that Iíve had a chance to play with and against her. You know playing with her in Russia; it has definitely changed my mind about her. I knew she was a hard worker playing against her, but man she goes hard in practice. Most of the time you go through the motions to get through practice, and she actually makes you play an actual game at practice. We can definitely appreciate that and another case Coach Reeve called me up after I had a great dinner at Benihanaís, and she was like ďIíve great news, Lindsey Whalen is comingĒ and almost wrecked the truck that night with the news. To see the team progress and get better every year and this year add Rebekkah and Lindsey has definitely made me feel more comfortable about the Lynx future.

Q: With the injury you have spent more time getting to know the community how have you gotten to know the state and some of the people you work with here?

Seimone: Yeah, Iíve gotten to know people a lot better here; Conrad, Aaron, Andrea, a lot of people in the front office have been great getting me out into the community. Just hearing the buzz the Lynx have in the community and what they expect out of us, and the little girls that we have touched and inspired that we donít see on a daily basis we didnít know that we were doing this for them. It was great to see how we touch lives and the impact we are having in Minneapolis.

Q: Now you know how depressed Vikings fans can get too after the Saints game

Seimone: All the guys in the front office were sending me text messages the day of the game. My therapist even sent me a picture of Adrian Petersonís jersey and was like ďItís game timeĒ But when the game was over nobody wanted to answer the telephone or return text messages so I know how that goes.

Q:Roger, can you say how long the contract is? I know you canít give specifics butÖ

Roger: I already snuck that in for you, itís four. Iím going to kind of break a little bit and let you have that one. We want everyone in the world to know we want Seimone and nobody else can have her.

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