Thursday, February 4, 2021

On the Beat With Bill Laimbeer, Chelsea Gray and Dan Padover of the Las Vegas Aces

The Las Vegas Aces announced the signing of three-time WNBA All-Star and free agent guard Chelsea Gray. In a press session Tuesday, GM Dan Padover, Coach Bill Laimbeer and Gray talked about the path to the contract.

Coach Laimbeer spoke of Gray and the signing, “Chelsea is an elite level playmaker in the WNBA, and players like her don’t come available very often. She’s also a quality person and teammate with valuable postseason and championship experience. Adding someone to our roster with her ability to consistently make the big play brings us that much closer to a championship.”

Gray was drafted in the 1st round with the 11th pick by the Connecticut Sun in the 2014 WNBA draft. She missed the 2014 season due to injury, but played one season for the Sun, before being traded to the Los Angeles Sparks. She played five seasons with the Sparks through the 2020 season.

During her career, Gray played 191 games (starting 125), averaging 11.7 points, 3.o rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.0 steals per game. She has shot 45.6% from the field, 38,5% from three point land and 85.1% from the free throw line.

For her opening statement, Gray said, “I’m excited to start a new chapter in my career with the Las Vegas Aces,” said Gray. “They already have a talented roster, made up of great competitors, and I can’t wait to get out on the floor with them. We play this game to win, and our goal from day one is to bring a WNBA championship to the city of Las Vegas.”

In the press session, Coach Laimbeer talked about finding the perfect balance between the best player and the best fit when looking at free agents. He feels Gray is tops in both categories. He talked about the process of pursuing Gray, her fitting into the team mindset and the chase for the title. Gray discussed possible pressure in being the free agent brought onto a successful team close to a championship, along with her love of Las Vegas and her new teammates.

Last season, the Aces finished 18-4, tied for first place with the Seattle Storm. The two teams eventually met in the championship series, with the Storm prevailing. Padover, Laimbeer and Gray are hoping that Gray's addition is the key piece to put the Aces on top.

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