L.A. Sparks' Seimone Augustus may extend WNBA career beyond 2020

WNBA veteran Seimone Augustus, who previously said she thought 2020 would be her last season, said Friday she is considering playing longer.

"To be honest, my mind is kind of open to coming back," Augustus said in a teleconference. "A lot of that is [based on] if we do have a season, how well I play, how my body feels, how my mind feels. But I'm not closed to maybe playing another season if possible."

Augustus spoke to the media for the first time since signing as a free agent with the Los Angeles Sparks on Feb. 20. That move surprised WNBA followers, who expected she would end her career with the team that drafted her No. 1 in 2006, the Minnesota Lynx, with whom she has played for 14 seasons and won four WNBA titles.

Augustus, a 6-foot guard, will be 36 next Thursday. She has averaged 15.9 points in her career,and her 5,881 total points ranks 11th in WNBA history. She also has averaged 3.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists. But she's coming off an injury-slowed 2019 season in which she played just 12 regular-season games, averaging 3.8 points, and scored six in the Lynx's playoff game, a loss to Seattle.

During 2019, Augustus indicated that 2020 would be her last season. She reiterated that in November while playing for the U.S. national team on a college exhibition tour. She figured 2020 would be her farewell season in Minneapolis.

But negotiations with the Lynx didn't go as she expected, and Augustus said she looked outside the organization for the first time. She didn't expect to get much response, but was soon contacted by Los Angeles.

In a lengthy Instagram video on March 3, Augustus expressed disappointment with the Lynx and the tone of negotiations, and said she took less money to go to the Sparks, a team that has been Minnesota's rival. Those franchises met in the 2016 and '17 WNBA Finals, which both went the distance at five games. The Sparks won in 2016 and the Lynx in 2017.

Friday, Augustus did not dwell on the split with Minnesota.

"I understand where they are as an organization and where I am as a player," she said. "It's hard to try to rebuild, but also honor and do the right things by a player who's been there so long.

"I just wanted to go out with a bang. Unfortunately, we couldn't come to an agreement on that. It came to opening the door to see what was out there."

As for her role in Los Angeles, Augustus said she doesn't care minutes played. Longtime Sparks guard Alana Beard has retired, so Augustus sees herself filling that veteran leadership role.

"When I'm out there, I'll play my minutes and play them hard, give the team whatever I've got," Augustus said. "I've always been perfect at just finding my spots; my jumper has been my bread and butter."

As for how she has evolved as a defensive player with age, Augustus said, "You figure out how to use your size and length against players who maybe have more quickness."

Augustus said despite the WNBA rivalry with the Sparks, she has a good relationship with several Los Angeles players, including forwards Nneka Ogwumike and Candace Parker, and point guard Chelsea Gray.

"I played with Nneka overseas, so she's probably the one I've talked to the most," Augustus said. "I've been around Chelsea a little bit with USA Basketball. Candace, the only message I really received from her was like, 'Congrats, glad you're here. Let's get it.' And that's all I really needed to hear. We're going to work to achieve our goal, which is possibly to get a championship for the city."

Augustus is currently home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she grew up and went to college at LSU, and said she has enjoyed spending more time with her parents. Augustus has a home gym where she has been able to stay in shape. She said if the WNBA does have its season this year, she'll be set whenever the call comes.

"My bags have been packed for a while," she said. "I'll be ready."
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