Washington

Hines-Allen secures long-term WNBA future with her new deal

Washington

Many call it 'securing the bag,' where one takes advantage of a situation to get paid a sizable amount of money. That's exactly what Myisha Hines-Allen did this WNBA offseason in her first taste of free agency in the states. 

By taking a reported $525,000 deal for three years (per Kareem Copeland of the Washington Post) with the Washington Mystics, Hines-Allen gets a significant pay jump as a former second-round pick. Per Spotrac, last season she made $70,040 on a minimum player contract (via a team option on her rookie deal). This year, that doubles to $170,000 for this season.

"It feels good. After I signed the contract, I went out to dinner and treated myself to a nice steak," Hines-Allen told the media on Tuesday. "So it feels really good, but I'm still going to continue to like grow and get better. But I'm super excited."

While there are many reasons as to why the former Louisville star got the bag in her first opportunity to do so, there is none bigger than her breakout 2020 season. By virtue of the coronavirus pandemic, she went from most of her on-court time being after practice to the Mystics leading scorer in a single offseason. A moment that she had been waiting for and was ready to deliver when her name was called. 

 

It turned the little-known forward, who played less than 500 minutes on a WNBA court her first two seasons combined, into one of the top players in the league. Her 17.0 ppg and 8.9 rpg earned her WNBA Second Team honors that season as well as finishing the runnerup for the league's Most Improved Award.

Heading into this offseason as a restricted free agent, she knew this was going to be another big moment in her career. 

"I know it's gonna be a big thing for me because it's my first year being in this situation," Hines-Allen said in her end-of-season availability. "And like you said before, just having the season that I did in the bubble, and parts of [the 2021] season too, just showing what I'm capable of doing and what I can bring to the team so, yeah, I've thought about it and I'm trying not to think about it as much."

"I was actually talking to [Natasha Cloud] about this but she's like 'don't even stress about it, don't even worry about it,' so that's what I'm going to do. Just whatever happens, happens."

What happened was her vaulting into one of the top-40 paid players in the top women's basketball league in the United States. The past several seasons have seen her travel to France and Italy as is the life of a professional women's basketball player. Now, it brings her some flexibility and security stateside. Getting a deal of this magnitude is not guaranteed for second-rounders, especially for Hines-Allen who was stashed on the bench of a championship squad for several years.

"When I first started talking to teams and speaking with my agent, they were like where do you want to be? I was like D.C.," Hines-Allen said after signing. "D.C. is like home for me, this is where I'm growing up, where I want to be so for me it was always D.C. and then keeping my options open but always wanted to be back in D.C."

And with that higher status brings way more responsibility. Already last year she had to adjust to being one of the focal points of another team's scouting report. Her play took a dip - along with some unlucky injuries - but being a top rostered player will add even more.

"It's definitely a privilege to actually be on a scouting report. I remember in college, my coach would always joke around like, 'oh yeah, you're not on the scouting report for this,' like, jokingly saying it. So just to be on a scouting report, yes it's a privilege but for me personally, [last] season was just so many highs and lows," Hines-Allen said back in September.

She also believes the organization is "real close" to being one of the top four teams. That is despite finishing eighth and 10th in the last two seasons.

The Mystics see Hines-Allen as a do-it-all forward, someone that can help run the offense as a playmaker. Two years ago they experimented with her as a point-forward, but with Cloud, Ariel Atkins and, ideally, Elena Delle Donne, less of that direct playmaking will fall on her as she continues her career in Washington. 

 

Now she becomes the latest versatile piece that the Mystics have invested in long-term, hoping to rise back to championship prominence.