Olympians Tina Thompson and Lisa Leslie reuniting?
Current mood: happy
TTLL.jpgWord is former Houston forward Tina Thompson (pictured far right by The Los Angeles Times) is close to finalizing an agreement to play with Los Angeles, choosing the Sparks over the Phoenix Mercury. There is a press conference scheduled for today, but I'm told that the Thompson announcement will most likely be later in the week.
Today is supposedly all about Lisa Leslie (also pictured right) announcing that she'll retire after this season. Her playing along side Thompson almost brings together the full Olympic frontcourt that won gold in Beijing when you include Candace Parker, who plans to return from her first pregnancy this season, and DeLisha Milton-Jones. (C Sylvia Fowles plays for Chicago) The reuniting also goes a little old-school, when Thompson and Leslie played together briefly at USC, winning the Pac-10 championship in 1993-94 when Thompson was a freshman and Leslie was a senior.
And it'll it probably feel as good. Leslie, 36, is on her way out but LA GM Penny Toler is taking a page out of Storm coach/GM Brian Agler's book with all the glitzy news this offseason. Landing the six-time All-Star in Thompson plus securing Leslie while Parker is out and coupling them with trade-pickup Vanessa Hayden on the bench has championship moves written all over it. Only Toler is doing it with younger players.
The Sparks still could use backcourt help. Temeka Johnson had a rough season in 2008, which was probably due to her grandmother's death. The woman raised the pint-sized point guard. If Johnson can return to her 2006 season as a Spark and Shannon Bobbitt has learned from her rookie bumps, Diana Taurasi can go ahead and repeat that LA should never lose a game.
It all makes you wonder what's going on in Seattle. It's good that Sheryl Swoopes plans to stick around after being cut, but Agler needs to move quick on securing quality frontcourt help for F Camille Little if the Storm is going to get past the Sparks -- or anyone else. And PG Sue Bird can't average 38 minutes and make it through what appears to be a harsh postseason. The Storm needs Lauren Jackson and Janell Burse along with Yolanda Griffith just to stay afloat, it seems.
Yet, it's still early. Thompson's name isn't on the dotted line and people predicted either one of these teams to win the title last summer. And look what happened -- congratulations Detroit.