Moore Adds Competition, Experience to Storm Camp
Kevin Pelton, stormbasketball.com | April 14, 2010
The Seattle Storm continued to add depth to the point guard position Wednesday, signing five-year WNBA veteran Loree Moore to a training camp contract. Moore, a starter for the New York Liberty the last four seasons, was waived by the Liberty last week in a cap-related move. Moore, known for her versatility and defensive ability, averaged 6.3 points, 3.9 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.9 steals in 2009. She ranked in the league's top 10 in both assists and steals per game.
"Obviously she's a veteran point guard in this league," said Storm Head Coach and Director of Player Personnel Brian Agler. "She's been a starter for a number of years. She understands our situation here where Sue (Bird) is not only the starter but a go-to player. She wants to come in and support us in that position. I also think that Loree is somebody who, because of her physical size, can play alongside Sue. She just adds to and gives more versatility to our perimeter game."
Already, the Storm had strengthened itself behind Bird last week by selecting Iowa State's Alison Lacey in the first round of the WNBA Draft. Both Moore, a physical 5-9, and the 6-0 Lacey have the ability to play both guard positions, and Agler envisions looking at multiple different lineups during training camp.
"Oh, absolutely," said Agler. "I think there's a very good chance of that [keeping both Lacey and Moore as backup guards]. But I also think there's different scenarios that could take place. What I like is the competition and our ability to put multiple ballhandlers on the floor. I think it gives us the opportunity to do a variety of things with Sue in our offense."
In addition to Lacey and Moore, the Storm will have several other players fighting for spots in the backcourt. Second-round pick Tanisha Smith can play both wing positions, as can training camp invitee Aja Parham, while shooting guard Chelsea Newton (a restricted free agent Agler expects to have in camp) is another veteran option who joined Moore on the 2007 WNBA All-Defensive Second Team.
"(The competition) is going to be, obviously, very stiff," noted Agler. "We've got a variety of good players with a wealth of experience coming in. The thing I've always found here in the league is the best training camps are ones where you have the most competition, and we definitely will have competition to make the team in 2010."
The Storm won a battle of a different kind for Moore's services after she parted ways with the Liberty. Her experience made her attractive as a free agent.
"She had an opportunity to look around," said Agler. "She looked at a variety of teams. I think Seattle was somebody she liked, but we also pursued her. I think she sort of sees herself fitting into a role here, and it could turn into a very substantial role."
For a team that has spent much of the last five years searching for a reliable backup to Bird, having two talented options as well as experience at the position is a major change.
"I think it's a little bit of a luxury," said Agler. "I think we can got a lot of ways. I also think if Loree comes in and it works out that she makes our team, it gives us the opportunity to be a little more patient, a little more flexible with Alison. I just think it's an opportunity for us to evaluate during training camp and really see what combination of players fits the best."
That decision on a final roster will be affected by the WNBA's salary cap, which was lowered this season. Because of the cap, there will be certain combinations of 11 players in training camp the Storm simply cannot keep together. However, having players on rookie contracts in the mix and getting Moore on a training camp contract offers some flexibility, and Agler said the cap may not end up a huge factor.
With Moore, the Storm now has 17 players headed to training camp, not counting Newton and free-agent center Ashley Robinson or third-round pick Tijana Krivacevic, who may not come to the U.S. this season. Still, more additions to the roster are on the way.
"We're not quite finished yet," Agler said.