Maya Moore Announces She Won't Return to WNBA for 2021 Season

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 10, 2021

Minnesota Lynx's Maya Moore in action during the first half of a WNBA basketball game against the Indiana Fever, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017, in Indianapolis. Minnesota won 80-69. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Darron Cummings/Associated Press

Maya Moore is sitting out the 2021 WNBA season, which will be her third successive year out of the league.

In an interview Wednesday on Good Morning America (h/t espnW.com's Katie Barnes), Moore said she wants to spend more time with her husband, Jonathan Irons.

"This journey has been quite wild, so I'm still trying to take that time to really get settled," she said. "We just got married. I'm still planning on taking some rest and really just leaning in to this season of enjoying Jonathan and having this full year."

During her hiatus, Moore worked to overturn Irons' burglary and assault convictions. He was eventually released from prison last July.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

WNBA star Maya Moore sat out the entire season last year and helped overturn the conviction of Jonathan Irons, who was serving a 50-year prison sentence. He was finally released today. (via @MooreMaya) https://t.co/fUWEEFP1nz

Moore and Irons announced in September they had married during the summer.  

Moore is one of the greatest players in WNBA history. Over just eight seasons so far, she's a six-time All-Star, a four-time champion and the 2014 league MVP. In terms of career per-game averages, the 31-year-old is seventh in points (18.4) and 11th in steals (1.7).

Because of how much time she has already missed, the Minnesota Lynx likely expected to be without Moore for the upcoming season.

According to Her Hoops Stats, Minnesota only has $92,100 in available salary-cap space, which isn't enough to sign a player of Moore's caliber unless she was willing to take significantly less money. In addition, the Lynx signed Kayla McBride and Aerial Powers this offseason, with McBride to occupy the spot on the wing once reserved for Moore.

ESPN.com's Mechelle Voepel and Kevin Pelton gave the franchise a B-plus grade for its work in free agency.

Minnesota would obviously benefit from Moore's presence. Nonetheless, by adding Powers, McBride and Natalie Achonwa to a roster that included 2017 MVP Sylvia Fowles, 2019 All-Star Napheesa Collier and reigning Rookie of the Year Crystal Dangerfield, Cheryl Reeve's squad is already a title contender.