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Maya Moore, one of the biggest stars in the WNBA, says she won’t play basketball this year

Moore is sitting out the season to focus on family and “invest time in some ministry dreams.”

WNBA Finals - Game One

The WNBA will be without Maya Moore, one of its best and most popular players, for the 2019 season. The four-time champion and 2014 MVP announced on Tuesday in a Players Tribune story that she won’t be playing basketball in 2019.

“My focus in 2019 will not be on professional basketball,” Moore wrote, “but will instead be on the people in my family, as well as on investing my time in some ministry dreams that have been stirring in my heart for many years.”

In mid-Jan. reports claimed Moore was considering taking the season off. Lynx coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve responded, saying the sides were “deciding the best way to approach next season.” Now we know the outcome

For the first time in eight years, the Minnesota Lynx will be without their star, who is perennially among the league’s leaders in scoring. Moore’s been a leading force in the Lynx’s four titles in seven years.

Moore did not mention anything about her future past 2019.

What does this mean for the WNBA?

Losing Moore for the season is a tough blow for the growing league, especially considering the impact of Minnesota’s star. The Lynx play in the league’s second-biggest market, and Moore is one of, if not the most popular player in the league. She was the leading All-Star vote-getter last season.

Her talent will surely be missed. Moore is averaging 18 points and six rebounds over her career, and her aggressive offensive display is must-watch TV. She’s a slasher, a shooter and a good defender who’s risen in fame because, quite simply, she wins a whole dang lot.

Dating back to high school, she’s won a championship minimally once every two years. She won four consecutive high school championships, two titles with the Connecticut Huskies in 2009 and 2010, and four out of seven titles with the Lynx in alternating years.

Any team with Maya Moore has a chance at winning it all, which is why the 2019 season will feel so much different without her.

What does this mean for the Lynx?

Minnesota is far from out of the playoff hunt without Moore, but the team will look a heckuva lot different. Starting point guard Lindsay Whalen has retired, and the future for Lynx legend Rebekkah Brunson is still undecided.

Sylvia Fowles, the 2016 MVP, will be back at center, as will guard/forward Seimone Augustus. Fowles is still one of the league’s best players, and will surely shoulder more of the offensive workload. The Lynx also signed free agent Karima Christmas-Kelly, a veteran wing known for her play on both sides of the ball, who will presumably fill Moore’s role.

Minnesota also has the No. 6 pick in April’s 2019 draft, where it can look to rebuild towards its future. Maybe they’ll be able to nab Notre Dame guard Arike Ogunbowale, a sweet-scoring wing, or athletic forward Napheesa Collier from Connecticut. Whoever’s taken there should earn legitimate playing time. The Lynx’s current youth should get a fair chance to show itself too, with Cece Zandalisini, Alexis Jones and Temi Fagbenle all showing capable rotation minutes last season.

The Minnesota Lynx starting their post-dynasty rebuild without Maya Moore isn’t ideal, but the 2019 season has a chance to show who is and is not part of the next era.