In a 5 minute video posted this week on YouTube, longtime Lynx star Seimone Augustus explained in her words why she left Minnesota after 14 years to sign with the rival Los Angeles Sparks — using the words "shocked" and "confused" to describe the way negotiations with the Lynx broke down.
"I was hoping to go back to the Lynx," Augustus said. "But things happen. And it really shocked me and confused me. All of the feelings that y'all had were the same feelings that I had. The confusion, the frustration, the disappointment."
You can watch the full video here (language warning in a couple of spots).
Augustus' tone conveyed her disappointment, not anger. Still, her words were a stark contrast to what was said two weeks ago when it was announced she was leaving. Augustus wrote a heartfelt message on Instagram that was as sentimental and happy look back at her 14 seasons, while Lynx coach/GM Cheryl Reeve said, "We wish she was not leaving. But we're happy if that's what she wants at this time."
Augustus said at the outset of the video that she wanted to clear up two misconceptions: That she asked for a max contract and/or signed with the rival Sparks to spite the Lynx. She said neither was the case. She described negotiations with the Lynx in terms of a relationship.
"It was almost like when you get in an argument with your spouse, and someone says something in the argument and you didn't know they felt like that," she said. "It's basically about how I felt going into negotiations … and the fact that I even had to, like, after 14 years even open the door for other teams to talk. In 14 years I never opened the door. People knew not to even come talk to me because I was going to back to the Lynx. … But the negotiations were going so 'left' that for me I had to open the door to other teams."
Augustus, who is 11th all-time in scoring in WNBA history and won four championships with the Lynx, was limited by a knee injury to just 12 games last season — scoring just 3.8 points per game on 31.3% shooting. She said she didn't anticipate a lot of teams would be interested in her as a free agent, but that she found several suitors — including the Sparks.
At first, Augustus said, she was negotiating with Los Angeles in hopes of spurring the Lynx to keep her. But as time went on, the breakdown with the Lynx combined with the chance to experience Los Angeles and compete for a championship compelled her to sign with the Sparks.
She called the whole process "probably the most stressful situation I've dealt with."