Friday, May 5, 2006
Washington Mystics point guard Nikki Teasley is locked in a salary dispute with the Hungarian team she played for during the offseason, and it will delay her arrival in Washington, her agent said yesterday.
Mike Cound said Teasley is still owed money by MKB Euroleasing Sopron and does not want to leave the country for fear of not getting paid.
Cound said he hoped Teasley would be in training camp by the start of next week, but Mystics Coach Richie Adubato and General Manager Linda Hargrove said they don't know when Teasley will arrive.
Teasley is the lone expected starter who has never played in Adubato's system, as guard Alana Beard, power forward DeLisha Milton-Jones and center Chasity Melvin were on the team last year. Small forward Crystal Robinson, who was signed as a free agent from New York, played under Adubato when he coached the Liberty.
Adubato said that until Teasley grasps the offense, he'll likely move Beard from shooting guard to point guard, with Coco Miller starting at shooting guard instead of coming off the bench.
"We're not at that point yet," Adubato said. "Everything depends on how fast of a learner Nikki is and how fast she can pick up the offense, but she needs to get here, first. But I can't answer that question."
The Mystics also don't know when forward Mactabene Amachree, who spent most of last season on injured reserve, will return from playing overseas in Turkey. But her absence is not nearly as significant as Teasley's since it is not a given she'll make the team.
Washington opens its two-game preseason schedule tomorrow against the San Antonio Silver Stars in Wichita. Adubato said he's going to focus on playing his reserves, which is why Rita Williams, who is signed to a training camp contract, or rookie Nikki Blue, a second-round draft pick, will start at point guard.
At power forward, Adubato said he'll start either Nakia Sanford or Latasha Byears, but Milton-Jones, who joined the team on Wednesday, also will see time. Beard will start at shooting guard, with Robinson (small forward) and Melvin (center) expected to round out the starting lineup.
Washington traded Temeka Johnson, its point guard last year and the WNBA rookie of the year, along with forward Murriel Page and the fifth pick in the draft this year to Los Angeles for the eighth selection and Teasley, who has started every game in her four-year career. Washington drafted small forward Tamara James with its first-round pick.
The Mystics open their season May 23 at Verizon Center against New York.
-- Jon Gallo