On the morning of May 4th shortly before the information was publicly released, Lauren Jackson's agent called (Phoenix Mercury General Manager) Ann Meyers Drysdale and delivered the news. The two-time MVP had decided to re-sign with the Seattle Storm where she's played since being drafted in 2001.
Meyers Drysdale was not surprised by the news and believes that the primary consideration for Lauren's decision was her loyalty and familiarity to the city and team.
The Phoenix GM expressed her feelings about the situation this way, "We're certainly disappointed, but this is not unexpected. We want to wish Lauren well this season in Seattle. We are moving on, and feel that the Mercury is a team that will be tough to play against, especially with Diana Taurasi and Cappie Pondexter."
Fanster.com posted a similar reaction from Mercury head coach Corey Gaines.
The decision came shortly after Jackson returned to her native Australia and she had an opportunity to evaluate the situation with her family. Ann felt that Lauren was always serious about exploring her options and didn't feel that Phoenix had been used as a "ploy" to gain any kind of negotiating leverage with the Storm.
Disappointed WNBA fans in Phoenix and elsewhere around the league can take solace in the fact that Jackson only signed a one-year deal in Seattle so the Lauren Sweepstakes might start up all over again next off season.
I am sure Storm fans are thrilled about that.
[Note by Phoenix Stan, 05/05/09 5:48 PM MST ]
Kevin Pelton, writting for the Storm, caught up with Jackson and has her reaction.
The Mercury look forward to starting training camp on May 17th with a front line of center Tangela Smith and forward Le'coe Willingham. It remains to be seen if newly acquired F/C Nicole Ohlde,who has started and played in every game of her five year career, will start next to Smith or if she will come off the bench.
With Temeka Johnson slotted as the starting point guard and Mercury super-stars Cappie Pondexter and Diana Taurasi at the wings, the only uncertainly in the starting line-up will be for the two spots on the front line.
Playing the 6'4" Smith a mobile center with decent range together with 6'5" Ohlde who is more known for her rebounding and interior defense, gives the Mercury two experienced bigs to help shore up the league's worst defensive team.
It is likely that the decision will come down to Ohlde's ability to adapt and keep up with the Mercury's high-paced offense.
Ann Meyers Drysdale would not speculate on the outcome saying only, "We'll have to wait and see what happens in training camp and the decision to start players will be up to Coach Gaines and his staff."