Two of the New York Liberty’s international prospects will remain overseas while the team waived a veteran interior prescience.
With WNBA teams forced to cut down to 11 or 12 players to ensure June 1 payments, the New York Liberty made a series of roster moves on Tuesday.
The team announced that center Han Xu and guard Marine Johannes will remain overseas for the 2020 season. Additionally, the team waived forward Reshanda Gray.
“On behalf of the New York Liberty organization, I would like to thank Reshanda for being a true and consistent competitor as shown night in and night out in front of New York Liberty fans last season,” said Liberty general manager Jonathan Kolb in a statement. “We wish her the best moving forward.”
Gray, 26, partook in WNBA regular-season action for the first since 2016 last year. Originally making the roster as the final name out of training camp, she was one of two players (along with Kia Nurse) to partake in all 34 games. She would put up career-best averages of 5.2 points and rebounds and tallied a double-double in a June win over Dallas. The Los Angeles native recently enjoyed a successful offseason campaign with Asan Woori Bank Wibee in South Korea, appearing in the 2020 WBKL All-Star Game.
Han and Johannes, who were each set to begin their sophomore seasons, join Stephanie Talbot as three Liberty veterans who will stay overseas for a potential campaign. Each became fan favorites during their rookie seasons.
Johannes joined the team in the middle of the year and immediately make a mark with double-figure scoring outputs in two of her first three games, including a perfect shooting performance (6-for-6 FG, 4-for-4 FT) in a July win over Los Angeles. The France native also reached double figures in three of her final four games en route to averages of 7.2 points and 2.4 assists. New York’s release declares that Johannes has elected to stay in Europe for “personal reasons.”
Han, 20, made international headlines when she became the first Chinese-born WNBA draftee (14th overall) since Zheng Haixia in the inaugural 1997 edition. She struggled to find a spot in the New York rotation during her rookie campaign but saw her minutes increase late in the season.
Her most notable output thus far was a 12-point performance in August against the future WNBA finalists from Connecticut. Han’s final ledger saw her partake in 18 games, averaging 3.0 points. The Liberty’s release notes that “game scheduling changes in her home country due to COVID-19” contributed to Han remaining overseas.
With a dozen players on the current roster, the Liberty are ready to go if and when the WNBA gets the green light to begin their 2020 seasonal proceedings. Half of the team’s roster consists of rookies, as all six selections from April’s WNBA Draft proceedings made the roster.
Such a group is led by top overall pick Sabrina Ionescu, who is joined by fellow first-rounders Megan Walker (seventh) and Jazmine Jones (12th). The Liberty acquired another first-rounder, Jocelyn Willoughby (10th), in a trade with Phoenix, while second-round choices Kylee Shook (13th) and Leaonna Odom (15th) likewise earned the nod.
In terms of veterans, Rebecca Allen will be the longest-tenured New Yorker as she enters her sixth season in seafoam. Newly acquired Layshia Clarendon is the most experienced representative, having played her seventh WNBA year with Connecticut last season.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags