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February 24, 2012 at 6:45 PM

Word from Brazil: Izi returns to Storm?

Izzy&KG.jpgMoments after posting our story about Tina Thompson signing with Seattle, a few Brazilian reporters sent stories stating unrestricted free agent Iziane Castro Marques is contemplating a deal with the Storm. Castro Marques was shipped to Atlanta in a three-team deal orchestrated by Storm coach and general manager Brian Agler in 2008 that ultimately brought All-Star Swin Cash to Seattle.
In three seasons with the Storm, Castro Marques averaged 9.3 points and started 92 games. With Atlanta, the 6-foot wing grew to be part of the most explosive tandem in the WNBA with All-Star Angel McCoughtry. The duo helped lead the Dream to back-to-back Eastern Conference championships, losing the WNBA title to Seattle in 2010 and Minnesota last year.
But while McCoughtry averaged 21.6 points last season, Castro Marques became a reserve and averaged 7.6 points in 19.8 minutes. And she’s not one of the highlighted players on the team’s website, if that carries any weight. (Ashley Robinson was still on the Storm’s, so…)
I’ve done the math, and even if Thompson were to sign and take a serious pay cut, Castro Marques doesn’t seem to fit. Especially not at the quoted salary in the story — $101,000 in the first of a three-year deal. But I’m not certain of everyone’s salary, only that Lauren Jackson’s max of 105,500 does count toward the max $878,000 salary cap despite her not joining the team until after the Olympics.

According to two reporters based in Brazil, Castro Marques’ agent says the deal is close to done. The hang up is whether Castro Marques opts to train with her national team for the London Games or play in the WNBA, which is the only way she can make money this summer.
“I like the team (and it) has a chance to be champion, the city is great and the food in Seattle as well,” she said in the article published this week. “But I have not made the final decision. Surely I will do what is best for me, Iziane.”
My attempts to reach her and her agency were unsuccessful today.
Castro Marques, 29, would of course help the Storm fill the slot on the wing. Agler also said he’d play new acquisition Victoria Dunlap at small forward, too. Complaints about Castro Marques in the past have been her lack of sharing the ball and she wasn’t the best defender in Seattle, former coach Anne Donovan coaching her to be better on that side of the ball.
There’s no question Castro Marques loves Seattle and the Brazilian fans here. When honored as one of the Storm’s All-Decade players, she cried. And you can always spot “Izi” or “Izzy” signs in KeyArena when Atlanta plays there.
Is it a good move? I’ll hopefully have more soon.
Here’s a copy of the original story in Portuguese:

Entre o prestígio de disputar uma Olimpíada com a seleção brasileira ou um salário em dólar na WNBA, liga americana feminina de basquete, a ala-armadora Iziane, 29, está muito perto de ficar com a segunda opção.
Em meados de abril, a jogadora, cestinha da LBF (Liga de Basquete Feminino) pelo Maranhão Basquete, deve ser convocada pelo técnico Luiz Cláudio Tarallo para mais de dois meses de treinos da equipe nacional na preparação para Londres-2012.
No mesmo período, estará em curso a temporada da liga profissional dos EUA. Iziane negocia um contrato de três anos com o Seattle Storm, atual campeão, clube que já defendeu de 2005 a 2007.
O acordo com a equipe da Conferência Oeste deve ser de um salário anual de mais de US$ 101 mil (cerca de R$ 173 mil), o teto salarial da WNBA. As temporadas duram, em geral, de quatro a cinco meses.
“O que estou vendo neste momento é a parte financeira”, disse à Folha, por telefone. Quando perguntada sobre o prestígio que teria por jogar uma Olimpíada, a maranhense respondeu: “Só o prestígio não vai pagar as minhas contas no final do mês”.
Iziane faz planos de ir para Seattle e atuar em um dos times mais fortes da liga, que conta com a pivô australiana Lauren Jackson e a armadora americana Sue Bird.
“Gosto do time, tem chances de ser campeão, a cidade é ótima, e a comida de Seattle também”, declarou.
“Mas ainda não tomei a decisão final. Com certeza farei o que for melhor para mim, Iziane”, disse a jogadora.
A CBB (Confederação Brasileira de Basquete) sabe da pretensão de Iziane de disputar mais uma temporada nos Estados Unidos em detrimento dos Jogos de Londres.
A ex-jogadora Hortência, atual diretora do departamento feminino da confederação, disse que conversa sobre Olimpíada com Iziane desde o Pan de Guadalajara, em outubro do ano passado.
“Tenho fé que a Iziane vai treinar desde o começo. A CBB está fazendo sua parte. Converso muito com ela, fui ao Maranhão continuar o papo. Mas não posso obrigá-la a jogar pelo Brasil”, disse.
A dirigente evita criticar Iziane. Prefere culpar a falta de boas atletas com nível técnico para serem convocadas.
“Iziane não está errada. Deveríamos ter feito mais jogadoras com nível para a seleção. Ficamos à mercê das decisões da atleta e temos que respeitar”, declarou.
A relação da ala com a seleção é espinhosa desde 2008, quando discutiu com o então técnico Paulo Bassul e ficou de fora de Pequim-08.
Em 2011, Hortência liberou Iziane de disputar o Pré-Olímpico, em setembro do ano passado, na Colômbia.
Na contramão da ala, a pivô Érika abriu mão da WNBA neste ano para cumprir a agenda de treinos da seleção.”

Here’s the story translated to English, using Google Translate:

Among the prestige of playing the Olympics with the Brazilian team or a salary in the WNBA in dollars, American League women’s basketball, the wing-Iziane playmaker, 29, is very close to being the second option.
In mid-April, the player, scorer of the LBF (Female Basketball League) by Maranhão Basketball should be called by coach Luiz Claudio Tarallo for more than two months of training the national team in preparation for London 2012.
In the same period, the season will be underway in the U.S. professional league. Iziane negotiates a three-year contract with the Seattle Storm, reigning champion, who has called Club from 2005 to 2007.
The agreement with the team in the Western Conference should be an annual salary of over $ 101,000 (about $ 173,000), the WNBA salary cap. The season lasts usually four to five months.
“What I’m seeing now is the financial part,” said Leaf, by phone. When asked about the prestige that would have to play the Olympics, the Maranhão replied: “Only the prestige will not pay my bills at the end of the month.”
Iziane makes plans to go to Seattle and work in one of the strongest teams in the league, which has the pivot Australian Lauren Jackson and Sue Bird American playmaker.
“I like the team has a chance to be champion, the city is great and the food in Seattle as well,” he said.
“But I have not made the final decision. Surely I will do what is best for me, Iziane,” said the player.
The CBB (Brazilian Basketball Confederation) Iziane know the pretense of playing another season in the United States over the London Games.
The former player Hydrangea, current head of the female department of the federation, said that talk about the Olympics with Iziane from the Pan de Guadalajara in October last year.
“I have faith that Iziane will train from the beginning. The CBB is doing its part. I talk to her a lot, went to Maranhao to continue the conversation. But I can not force her to play for Brazil,” he said.
The leader avoids criticizing Iziane. He prefers to blame the lack of good athletes with the technical level to be summoned.
“Iziane not wrong. We should have done more for players with level selection. We were at the mercy of the decisions of the athlete and we must respect,” he said.
The ratio of the wing with the selection is tricky since 2008, when he discussed with then-coach Paul Bassul and missed the Beijing-08.
In 2011, Hortense Iziane released to compete in the Pre-Olympic in September last year in Colombia.
In the opposite wing, the pivot Erika relinquished the WNBA this year to fulfill the agenda of the training team. “

*PHOTO CREDIT: F Iziane Castro Marques, left, shares a laugh with Katie Gearlds by The Seattle Times.



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