Storm Loses Sam to Sting

  • Storm Navigates Free Agency
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  • Kevin Pelton, | Feb. 14, 2005
    Given the nature of the WNBA's hard salary cap and the Seattle Storm's nine free agents this off-season, it was a given that the Storm would be unable to keep their 2004 Championship team intact for the 2005 season. Still, it's a sad day for the Storm as the first player from that team has departed, with forward Sheri Sam signing with Charlotte. Sam becomes the first player in franchise history to leave the Storm via free agency.

    Sam was the Storm's fourth-leading scorer.
    Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty
    Sam marked the final piece of the core of the championship team when she was acquired, along with center Janell Burse, in a three-player deal just before the 2004 WNBA Draft. A 2002 WNBA All-Star, Sam averaged 9.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.6 steals for the Storm, playing all 34 games (the fourth consecutive season she hasn't missed a game) and starting 32 of them.

    During the playoffs, Sam averaged 7.4 points and 5.5 rebounds, but shot just 32.9% from the field.

    The Storm had hoped to retain Sam, but knew that, as an unrestricted free agent, she would receive offers that the team could not match because of its salary-cap situation. Storm Coach Anne Donovan confided that one of the reasons Sam had been available in the first place was because the Minnesota Lynx feared losing her as a free agent.

    The Storm still has two unrestricted free agents and six restricted free agents, including starters Betty Lennox, Lauren Jackson and Kamila Vodichkova.