Kayla McBride has come to feel like Minneapolis is home. She is thrilled with how her Lynx team rallied from a slow start to make the playoffs. That's why she's staying.
But she's not satisfied.
"We like where we're at," McBride said after signing a multiyear extension with the Lynx on Friday. "But we love where we're going."
About to finish her 10th WNBA season — her third with the Lynx — McBride has taken a step, both as a player and a leader. Her crescendo to the end of this season has helped the Lynx become just the second team in league history to make the postseason after starting the season 0-6.
During a press conference via Zoom from Chicago — where the Lynx are scheduled to play the Sky on Friday night — McBride talked about how she's matured. As a player, of course. But also as a person.
"This feels like home," McBride said. "It feels right. This is my family, that's what it feels like. It's where I want to be."
As the Zoom call began, President of Basketball Operations and coach Cheryl Reeve panned the camera to the audience, where the Lynx team and staff were watching. It is a group that includes Napheesa Collier, who has stepped up to superstar status this season, and rookies Diamond Miller and Dorka Juhász, who have been huge contributors to the Lynx returning to the playoffs after a one-year absence.
As has McBride. Reeve said McBride's leadership and mentorship helped a team that, after struggling with its chemistry last year, came together this year and learned to trust each other again.
"Kayla was huge this season in us becoming the team we wanted to be," Reeve said. "KMac is at the root of all the good that has happened for us this season."
She has been the most important player on the team not named Collier.
From the moment she joined the team prior to the 2021 season, the 5-11 off-guard has been a dependable, consistent player. Dependable? McBride has appeared in 99 of a possible 106 regular-season games — all starts. She has averaged 13.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.1 steals in that time, hitting 42.2% of her shots overall and 35.6% (186 of 523) on her three-point attempts.
She and Collier have a developed a chemistry on the offensive end — particularly in pick-and-roll situations — and McBride has emerged as the most vocal leader on the team.
And perhaps the most complete player she's ever been. Encouraged by Reeve to be more aggressive attacking the rim, McBride has become a true three-level scorer. She is the team's biggest three-point threat but is also the team leader in finishing at the rim at about 80%, according to Reeve.
The Lynx did not divulge specifics of the deal, but it's expected the contract will carry through the next two seasons, ending at the same time the current collective bargaining agreement ends. The current maximum contract allowed in the WNBA is $234,936 with the average salary at $113,000.
In any event, McBride gets to stay "home" a little longer.
"The way I define home is that, even on rough days, they end up as good days," McBride said. "When you go to work every day with people you love, it helps you through."