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January 2, 2009 at 2:03 PM

FSN Lineup: Phoenix GM Ann Meyers Drysdale to call UW game

LJOly.jpgAll those wanting to bully Phoenix into not taking prized free agent Lauren Jackson (pictured right) should be at the Washington-Washington State game at Hec Ed on Saturday. Mercury GM Ann Meyers Drysdale will offer color analyst for Fox Sports Northwest with Jim Watson handling the play-by-play, so you can personally deliver your two-cents about the Storm star.
Ultimately it doesn’t matter. Teams don’t have much leverage outside of location and playoff potential. But seriously, Jackson, a two-time MVP, could join expansion Atlanta’s lineup and take them to the WNBA Finals — if she stays healthy. Especially of Chamique Holdsclaw is honest about returning to the league.
I’ve read that it would be a “death blow” if Jackson doesn’t re-sign with Seattle and I’m not sure I agree with that. Based on past conversations with the 6-foot-5 forward, Phoenix is the only other team Jackson would consider and if Meyers Drysdale can sign the Australian, I think Seattle would be able to move on.
Heck yeah it would be incredibly odd. Like Kevin Garnett in a Boston Celtics jersey. But the main thing is she’s in the WNBA. If a healthy Jackson decides to skip summer play for something other than injury, the WNBA has a real problem.
Holdsclaw, the 1999 No. 1 overall draft pick, needed to get away for mental health reasons. And others who’ve floated in and out weren’t highly marketed by the league. Jackson not returning at all sends a serious statement that I don’t think the WNBA can spin into a positive — even considering that she’s an Aussie.
Jackson is still in her prime. Retiring from WNBA play and continuing to star in Russia sends a bad message that she just doesn’t want to be here and the WNBA’s treatment of its players — monetarily or otherwise — isn’t good. I think that would make older fans, who champion women’s rights, put pressure on the league. Sure, American players would continue to join-in, but some luster would be lost. And that Aussie pipeline could end, Penny Taylor is already thinking about not returning due to injury.
So, play in Phoenix if you must Jackson. Seattle will live. Just continue to play.

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