Getting administrators and/or celebrities representing women’s basketball to talk on the record about anything substantive regarding anything relatively important is a much greater challenge than you might suspect.
Take it from one of the 12 (maybe 13) writers in the United States of America who has a great interest in keeping the sport in the public eye.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t pass along some things that I have heard lately. There’s no law against that, is there?
• Negotiations designed to create a new Collective Bargaining Agreement between the WNBA and the Player’s Association have essentially been going on since the All-Star break. It is important the issue gets resolved for many reasons; consider players can’t be signed or business done until a structure is in place. It could take several months, especially if the players feel put upon by ownership to give up things they don’t want to give up. But one thing I strongly hear is coming is that an extra player will be added to each roster, which makes entirely too much sense to be true.
• Believe it or not, the WNBA has not decided when it will hold its 2014 Draft Lottery. Connecticut, Tulsa, San Antonio and New York would love to know what the deal is so they can plan their off-season transactions. What are we waiting for folks? The Final Four is in April, remember.
• I reported yesterday, citing a report from a Australian news agency, that the Australian national team has been granted permission by the WNBA to come to the United States in May, sift their players from WNBA rosters and train together for a few weeks before the season starts. They will likely play a few exhibition games against WNBA teams and, perhaps, Geno Auriemma’s national team. So far, Australia is the only team that has asked for permission to do this.
• It’s quite possible the WNBA All-Star Game format for 2014 will be a repeat of the national team vs. WNBA All-Stars not on the national team. The regular season is slated to begin in early May and the playoffs over well before the start of the World Championship in Turkey next September.
• USA Basketball has asked its floor coaches and those of the Player Selection committee not to comment on any specific players who trained in Las Vegas last week. USA Basketball doesn’t want anyone speculating who might make the team and who may not. Let me take a guess here: Brittney Griner is on the team.
• UConn is nearing the final stages of filling out its non-conference schedule for 2014 and beyond and it’s not as easy as it appears. Playing in such a weak conference as The American puts extra pressure on the Huskies to play a competitive non-conference slate in order to prepare players for the postseason and ramp up its RPI. I am hearing UConn is trying to add a new SEC opponent and a Pac-12 team, partly to accommodate homecoming games for Brianna Banks (Georgia) and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (Los Angeles). Kiah Stokes, who will be a senior next season, hails from Iowa. Something against Iowa or Iowa State could be in the works, too.
• If USA Basketball decides to expand its coaching staff from four to five for the World Championship and 2016 Olympics, it’s likely two WNBA coaches and two college coaches will be with Auriemma. If not, the college coach is going to come down to Doug Bruno, Jen Rizzotti or Dawn Staley and if Staley gets the job ahead of the other two you can guess it wasn’t Geno’s call. Look for Pokey Chatman and Cheryl Reeve to present the WNBA.
• Maybe it’s me, but charging $149 for courtside seats for the Jan. 11 game in Bridgeport seems a little excessive.
• I don’t think Asjha Jones or Kara Lawson will ever play another game for the Connecticut Sun. And if I was on the ownership side of the CBA negotiations, I would make sure players like Jones, who skip WNBA seasons to rest injuries in preparation for playing overseas, be made to pay contractual penalties for reneging on their deals.
* Am I allowed to wonder if the physical play between Angel McCoughtry, Maya Moore and Seimone Augustus has anything to do with McCoughtry’s behavior during the last run to the Olympic gold medal. Angel can get on your nerves, apparently.