Brazilian reports had the Storm signing former F Iziane Castro Marques to a three-year deal worth near the maximum for the 2012 season. Castro Marques is an unrestricted free agent, dealt to Atlanta in 2008 as part of a three-team deal that eventually brought All-Star Swin Cash to Seattle.
In speaking with Storm coach and general manager Brian Agler on Monday, the organization doesn’t appear likely to sign Castro Marques, an offensive-minded wing. Agler said once he knew C Ann Wauters would sign with Seattle, he aggressively spoke with nearly all free agents, including Castro Marques’ representatives. But her inability to quickly decide whether she’d miss the opening part of the season in order to train with Brazil for the upcoming London Games was a reason talks stalled.
The Storm will be without C Lauren Jackson to start the season due to her preparing and participating in the Olympics for her native Australia. Agler has to pay her full salary and may hold a roster spot for the three-time Olympian, competing with 10 players until August.
“If Izi were to decide to do the same, we could potentially have nine players and couldn’t go down that path,” Agler said. “We had to back off.”
Instead, Agler announced the signing of legend Tina Thompson on Monday. She approached the team almost simultaneously as Agler approached her about playing for the Storm. While wanting to get younger, Agler believes the 15-year veteran will help with his other goal — remaining a top-tier team in a Western Conference where only San Antonio hasn’t won a championship.
“We’re trying to do something that’s never been done,” he said of advancing to the postseason for WNBA record ninth consecutive time. “We’re trying to make history here.”
Agler is also in talks with F Jana Vesela (Czech Republic), G Svetlana Abrosimova (Russia), and F Abby Bishop (Australia). Depending on their Olympic outlook, they could potentially vie for roster spots this season, too. None would join before the May 18 season opener, however.
The Storm has nine players under contract and possession of the No. 2 overall pick in April’s draft. That leaves possibly one slot open on the eventual 11-player lineup. Jackson, a three-time MVP, doesn’t have to count until her arrival but her guaranteed salary ($105,500) does factor into the maximum $878,000 salary cap.
Seattle can have 18 active players on the roster when training camp opens April 28. The yet-to-be named additions will compete with G Allie Quigley and C Ewelina Kobryn for the final spots on the team.