The 2022 WNBA free agency session is in full swing. Players are negotiating and agreeing to deals with teams now and can sign the contracts beginning Feb. 1.
Here’s what to know for the 2022 free agency period, including top free agents and teams likely to make moves. Follow Yahoo Sports for all of the latest reported deals, rumors and more.
Allie Quigley signs one-year deal with Sky
Allie Quigley will be back in Chicago for at least the 2022 season. Quigley signed a one-year deal with the reigning champion Sky on Thursday, Rachel Galligan reported for Just Women’s Sports. At the same time Chicago’s social accounts released a video of fans asking the team to make sure Quigley and Courtney Vandersloot, the couple known as the VanderQuigs, were returning.
Quigley is a native of Joliet, Illinois, and attended DePaul. It will be her 10th year in Chicago and 14th overall. Quigley, 35, is a three-time 3-point contest winner at the All-Star game and one of the league’s best shooters from beyond the arc.
The one-year deal could indicate a plan to retire, re-assess teams next free agency or ponder choices around prioritization.
Vandersloot, 33, reportedly agreed to a one-year deal last week. She’s led the league in assists the past four years and has spent her entire 11-season career in Chicago. Her return was put into question during the first day of the free agency signing period when ESPN’s Holly Rowe reported the offered deal was “wildly disrespectful.” Her overseas club was reportedly trying to pay her to sit out the WNBA season.
Earlier in the week, the Sky announced that Astou Ndour-Fall would sit out the season for rest.
Sky bring Kysre Gondrezick to training camp
Kysre Gondrezick, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2021 WNBA draft, will have a chance to join the reigning champion Chicago Sky on a training camp contract, Annie Costabile reported for the Chicago Sun-Times.
Gondrezick, 24, averaged 1.9 points and one rebound per game in 9.1 minutes. She played 19 games before taking a leave of absence in August that she later said was to address her mental health. The Fever waived her at the beginning of the free agency period. The former West Virginia star was a shocking lottery pick as she wasn’t on many analysts draft boards at all.
Official: Jordin Canada signs with Sparks
The Los Angeles Sparks announced on Tuesday it signed point guard Jordin Canada, a two-time WNBA championship with the Seattle Storm. It’s a one-year, $98,000 protected contract, per Rachel Galligan for Just Women’s Sports.
Canada, the Storm’s No. 5 overall in the 2018 draft, received a qualifying offer as a restricted free agent from the Storm. The franchise rescinded that, making her an unrestricted free agent free to sign anywhere. Sparks general manager and head coach Derek Fisher said in a team release Canada “was an important part of our offseason plan.
The 26-year-old averaged 7.2 points, 4.1 assists, 2.1 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game playing behind WNBA assists leader Sue Bird. She is a Los Angeles native having attended the Windward School and UCLA.
Veteran point guard Layshia Clarendon and local fan favorite Rachel Banham are officially back with the Minnesota Lynx, the club announced.
Clarendon signed a one-year, $90,000 deal that is unprotected, per Her Hoop Stats. Banham signed a one-year veteran minimum deal of $72,141, per Her Hoop Stats. She is officially on a “training camp contract” that won’t count against the cap until she makes the opening day roster.
That’s important because the Lynx have a salary cap problem and face a currently face a roster conundrum. Via Richard Cohen at Her Hoop Stats:
Clarendon joined the team a month into the 2021 season after being waived by the Liberty and provided much-needed leadership from the point guard position. Banham, a native of Lakeville who played collegiately at Minnesota, had her best career year in 2020 with the Lynx and ranked fourth in 3-point shooting (47.2%).
Liberty clear room to re-sign Rebecca Allen
Veteran Rebecca Allen is reunited in the states with her Australian national team head coach, Sandy Brondello, after re-signing with the New York Liberty.
It’s a two-year deal at $141,000 in 2022 and $136,850 in 2023, per Jackie Powell of The Next. Allen, 29, hit career highs across the box score in 2022: 24.2 MPG, 9.2 PPG, 1.6 SPG, 1.2 BPG and 1.1 APG.
To make room for her signing, the Liberty waived 2020 draftees Jazmine Jones, a high-energy spark for the squad, and Leaonna Odom. Jones was named to the year’s All-Rookie team, marking New York’s first entrant on the team since 2015. She was the No. 12 selection and Odom the No. 15 in a Liberty heavy draft that started with No. 1 pick Sabrina Ionescu.
Liz Cambage agrees to deal with Sparks
Liz Cambage and Nneka Ogwumike are about to be in the same frontcourt.
Cambage agreed to a deal with the Los Angeles Sparks late Saturday night, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, ending a three-year tenure with the Las Vegas Aces. The Australian appeared to confirm the deal on her Instagram story:
Read more on the deal.
Sparks land Chennedy Carter, Li Yueru from Dream
The Los Angeles Sparks were finalizing a deal with the Atlanta Dream on on Saturday afternoon to land Chennedy Carter.
The Sparks, according to Windisr’s Rachel Galligan, will acquire Carter and the rights to Li Yueru from the Dream in exchange for Erica Wheeler and a pair of future draft picks. They were also working on a deal for Jordin Canada.
Big Four: Mercury sign Tina Charles
Phoenix is going all-in, signing 2012 MVP Tina Charles to the roster a day after trading for wing Diamond DeShields. The Phoenix roster features two former MVPs along with Diana Taurasi and a third, Brittney Griner, who is constantly in the mix for it. Read more on the signing.
Aces re-sign Riquna Williams, Kiah Stokes
Riquna Williams and Kiah Stokes each re-signed with the the Las Vegas Aces, the club announced Thursday.
Williams signed a two-year, $294,350 deal, per Her Hoop Stats, a large bump from her $90,000 pay day in 2021. She’s the team’s best 3-point shooter (44.4%, fifth in the WNBA) and head coach Becky Hammon said the team will be attempting more from the perimeter this year.
Stokes, who joined the Aces in July, signed a one-year, $115,000 deal. Both are unprotected contracts. Stokes has been one of the league’s best rebounders since being drafted out of UConn in 2015.
Official: Liberty sign Dolson to 2-year deal
The New York Liberty announced the signing of center Stefanie Dolson on Thursday. Dolson signed on a two-year, $320,000 deal, per Her Hoop Stats. It’s fully protected.
The 2021 WNBA champion with the Sky and inaugural 3×3 Olympic gold medalist is returning to her home state. She grew up north of the city in Port Jervis.
“Playing in New York is a dream come true,” Dolson said in a team release. “It feels like now is the perfect time in my career to join the Liberty organization as we set our sights on becoming perennial contenders.”
“Knowing that I’ll have the support of my family and friends at Barclays Center makes this all the more special.”
The seafoam welcomed her on her official visit with a look at what it would be like to play at Barclays.
Dolson, 30, averaged 7.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists with Chicago last season.
Storm trade Katie Lou Samuelson to Sparks
The Los Angeles Sparks and Seattle Storm are close to a trade that would swap former UConn stars. Katie Lou Samuelson would go to Los Angeles and Gabby Williams to Seattle, Rachel Galligan of Winsidr reported. The Sparks will also acquire the No. 9 overall pick in the 2022 draft from Seattle.
After a stellar overseas season, Samuelson averaged a career-best 7 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 21 minutes per game for Seattle. The 6-foot-3 forward and No. 4 overall pick in 2019 is a California native and would be on her fourth team in four years. She’s due to make $72,141 on the fourth year of her rookie deal.
Williams, the No. 4 overall pick in 2018, played all four of her WNBA seasons with the Chicago Sky. The club suspended her contract for the season while she was with the French national team and traded her to the Sparks. Williams, a 5-foot-11 forward, has a $144,000 protected contract for 2022, per Her Hoop Stats. Los Angeles could be clearing cap space for a move to bring on another big-time free agent. Center Liz Cambage is reportedly talking with the Sparks on a deal.
Mercury, Fever, Sky make 3-team deal official
The Phoenix Mercury, Indiana Fever and Chicago Sky made their reported three-team deal official on Thursday. The breakdown for what each team receives, and what team it’s from:
Mercury: Diamond DeShields (Sky)
DeShields, a 2021 WNBA champion with the Sky, moved in a sign-and-trade deal. It’s a two-year deal worth “over $300,000,” per Annie Costabile at the Chicago Sun-Times. The 26-year-old wing is coming off a rookie deal that paid around $70,000 in 2021.
Sky: Julie Allemand (Fever), 2023 first-round pick (Mercury)
Allemand, 25, has only played one season in the WNBA. The Belgian national team point guard averaged 8.5 points and 5.8 assists in the 2020 season with Indiana. Allemand said in an Instagram post last month she was burnt out and wanted to take some time off. The Sky could be acquiring her rights for a future season, or planning for point guard Courtney Vandersloot’s departure.
Fever: Bria Hartley (Mercury), 2022 second-round picks (Mercury), 2022 and 2023 first-round picks (Sky)
Hartley, a two-time NCAA champion with UConn, is in her ninth WNBA season. The 5-foot-9 guard has a career-year in 2020 averaging 14.6 points and 4.5 assists per game. She sustained an ACL injury late in that season and played six games in 2021. Hartley will bring much-needed scoring for Indiana. The Fever now have the No. 2, No. 7 (from Chicago) and No. 10 picks in the upcoming draft.
Wings lock up Arike Ogunbowale on supermax extension
Arike Ogunbowale will be with the Dallas Wings through 2025 after signing a multi-year extension, per Dorothy J. Gentry.
Ogunbowale is in the final year of her rookie contract and would become a restricted free agent next offseason. The 2023 free agency period should see a lot of movement with teams clearing books of big contracts and more top-tier free agents available.
The extension will boost her pay considerably from the $72,141 she’s set to make in 2022 on the rookie deal. The three year deal pays $234,936 in 2023, $241,984 in ’24 and $249,032 in ’25, per Her Hoop Stats. Those are the supermax salaries for a player signing an extension to a rookie scale contract allowed for each year by the CBA.
The Wings were the youngest team in the league the last two years and are building around Ogunbowale, who finished third in scoring her rookie year. Over three years she’s averaged 19.9 points, 3.3 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game.
Aces re-sign A’ja Wilson
The Las Vegas Aces are keeping 2020 MVP and restricted free agent A’ja Wilson in town. Wilson was playing on her rookie contract and will receive a large bump in pay from the $70,040 she made in her fourth season. She signed a two-year, fully protected contract for $196,267 in 2022 and $202,155 in 2023, per Winsidr’s Rachel Galligan. It’s the max for a restricted free agent.
It was almost a certainty Wilson, the top overall pick in the 2018 draft, was staying in Las Vegas, but she had fun teasing followers on Twitter for the last few days without any announcement from either side. As a restricted free agent, the Aces could match any offer she received from another team.
Last season, Wilson averaged 18.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. She’s a career 46.4% shooter from the field. She also won gold at the Tokyo Olympics in August.
The Aces lost in the 2021 WNBA semifinals to the fifth-seeded Phoenix Mercury. Las Vegas has already made one significant offseason move, naming Becky Hammon as head coach.
Fever, Mercury, Sky working on 3-team deal
Per Winsidr’s Rachel Galligan, the Indiana Fever, Phoenix Mercury and Chicago Sky are close to a three-way trade that would send 26-year old former All-Star guard Diamond DeShields from the champion Sky to the Mercury team they defeated in the WNBA Finals. Chicago will receive second-year guard Julie Allemand from the Fever and Phoenix’s 2023 first-round draft pick in return, per the report.
The Fever will receive eight-year veteran guard Bria Hartley and multiple draft picks/swaps in the deal.
Briann January, now with Storm, announces final season
Free agent guard Briann January is joining the Seattle Storm for her final season in the WNBA, the team announced on Wednesday. January is a native of Spokane, Washington.
“I’m so excited to have the opportunity to come back to my home state for my final season in the W,” January, a 13-year veteran, said in a team release. “I’ve always admired the way the Storm operate both on and off the court. I can’t wait to get to work with this talented group of women and do my part in helping this team win another championship.”
January was drafted No. 6 overall by the Indiana Fever in 2009 and won the WNBA championship with them in 2012. She’s played in the playoffs 12 of 13 years in the league, including with the Phoenix Mercury and most recently with the Connecticut Sun. January, 35, is a seven-time All-Defensive Team selection averaging 8.3 points, 3.5 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.8 rebounds per game.
Official: Sun bring back Courtney Williams
The Connecticut Sun are adding Courtney Williams back to the roster after two years away with the Atlanta Dream, the Sun announced Wednesday. It’s a one-year, fully-protected deal at $103,000, per Her Hoop Stats. The guard was a key asset to the Sun’s WNBA Finals run in 2019 both in production and energy.
“Courtney is a fan favorite, and her energy is contagious to her teammates,” head coach Curt Miller said in a team statement. “She is a dynamic guard that can create her own offense which fills one of our biggest needs. She also has quietly been the best defensive rebounding guard in the league which will continue to help our defense and transition game. Adding Courtney, an All-Star, to our existing roster is fantastic news for our franchise.”
Williams said in a statement she’s “excited to be coming back home” and thanked the Sun fans for their support “since day 1.” During her second season in Atlanta, there were reports of issues between teammates and after the season Williams released a video of players fighting outside a food truck. The team stated it would not have her back. She made $190,550 in 2021.
She is currently playing in Athletes Unlimited along with Taj Cole, a 2020 ACC All-Defensive team selection. The Sun will sign Cole to a training camp contract, per Just Women’s Sports’ Rachel Galligan.
Phoenix likely signing Tina Charles
The Monster Four in Phoenix? The Phoenix Mercury are likely signing center Tina Charles, ESPN’s Holly Rowe reported on the channel’s special. Charles is still seeking her first championship and has not been quiet that it’s a title or bust.
It would match her with center Brittney Griner, guard Diana Taurasi and guard Skylar Diggins-Smith. There are a lot of salary cap questions around the potential move, especially if they also sign Diamond DeShields, as Rowe reported. The Mercury lost in the WNBA Finals.
Chicago makes ‘wildly disrespectful’ offer to Courtney Vandersloot
The Chicago Sky gave point guard Courtney Vandersloot a “wildly disrespectful” offer, Holly Rowe reported for ESPN on its free agency special Tuesday afternoon.
Rowe also reported UMMC Ekaterinburg, her powerhouse overseas club, wants to pay her to sit the WNBA season out. Annie Costabile of the Chicago Sun-Times confirmed the report. It’s the same type of deal it made with Diana Taurasi in 2015. That would be a big blow to Chicago’s championship repeat outlook even after reportedly signing Emma Meeseman.
Seattle keep two-time champion Mercedes Russell
Mercedes Russell, a member of the 2018 and 2020 championship teams, is staying with the Seattle Storm.
“She is a true team player and her versatility at the post position and her skill set make her extremely valuable to the Storm,” general manager Talisa Rhea said in a team release. “Mercedes has continued to grow each year with us, and we are excited about her ability to help us win now and in the future.”
Russell, a restricted free agent, averaged 5.4 points and 4.5 rebounds over her career, of which all but two games have been with the Storm. The 6-foot-6 center is currently playing in Athletes Unlimited.
Mystics add Elizabeth Williams
The Washington Mystics have added veteran center Elizabeth Williams, the team announced.
“Elizabeth Williams could end up being the lynchpin to our championship aspirations,” head coach Mike Thibault said in a social media statement.
Williams, 28, played the last six seasons for the Dream after a season in Connecticut. She’s averaging 8.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 1.2 assists over her career. Atlanta is in a pure re-building mode while the Mystics look to add pieces around Elena Delle Donne again, assuming the former MVP is ready to play.
The Dream announced they re-signed Tiffany Hayes and brought on Nia Coffey from the Los Angeles Sparks.
Lynx announce Sylvia Fowles’ final season
The Minnesota Lynx announced veteran center Sylvia Fowles is re-signing with the team for what the team said will be the two-time champion and Finals MVP’s final season.
Fowles, 36, announced on Instagram last month she would stay “home” in Minnesota. She did not indicate it was her final season at the time.
“There are a few reasons why I chose to play another year,” Fowles said in the team release. “The main reason for my return had a lot to do with our fans. I wanted to make sure I gave them the opportunity to see me play my final season. It feels right that my playing career finishes in Minnesota; there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.”
The four-time Defensive Player of the Year said at the end of the 2021 season she had thing to discuss with the franchise as she pondered retirement. She won the 2017 MVP award and began her career with the Chicago Sky.
Jonquel Jones signs core offer
Jonquel Jones is in fact staying in Connecticut, the team announced. It’s reportedly a two-year deal worth slightly less than the supermax, per Her Hoop Stats. She’d make $205,000 in 2022 and $211,150 in 2023.
“I am so happy to be back in Connecticut,” Jones said in the release. “This organization has believed in me since day one and I definitely feel like we have unfinished business. The fans want it, the front office wants it and the players want it. So now we just have to go out and get it done and bring a chip back to Mohegan Sun.”
Connecticut cored Jones, preventing the star center from negotiating with anyone else. She could have pushed for a sign-and-trade or accepted the one-year, supermax deal. After initial confusion, the team clarified that Jones agreed to the core and signed a multi-year deal, the details of which are not disclosed.
Mystics sign Shatori Walker-Kimbrough
Fifth-year guard Shatori Walker-Kimbrough will stay with the Washington Mystics, the team announced Tuesday.
“We look forward to the continued growth of Shatori’s game that she displayed upon her return to the Mystics last season. In addition, she has had an outstanding season in Israel this winter,” head coach Mike Thibault said in a team release. “She can be an integral part of our success because she has become a big contributor at both ends of the floor. I think she will play a key role this season.”
The Mystics drafted Walker-Kimbrough with the No. 6 overall pick in 2017. Following the 2019 championship, she signed with the Phoenix Mercury for a season and played one game for the Connecticut Sun in 2021. She re-joined the Mystics in July and averaged 7.4 points on 51.3 percent shooting, 1.4 rebounds and 1 assist in 21.6 minutes per game.
Layshia Clarendon agrees to stay with Lynx
Veteran point guard Layshia Clarendon has agreed to terms with the Minnesota Lynx, Kent Youngblood reported Tuesday for the Minnesota Star Tribune.
Re-signing Clarendon was a focus for general manager and head coach Cheryl Reeve in the offseason. The Lynx brought Clarendon on after a 0-4, and once she had been waived by the New York Liberty. He initially signed a series of hardship contracts before they signed for the entire season.
The Lynx went 15-5 and finished with the No. 3 overall seed, though Minnesota lost in the single-elimination second-round game to eventual champion Chicago Sky.
Clarendon averaged 10.4 points, 5.7 assist and 3.1 rebounds per game while shooting a career-high 51.7% overall. She dealt with injuries throughout the season.
Sophie Cunningham will stay with Phoenix
Unrestricted free agent Sophie Cunningham is staying in Phoenix, the guard announced on social media late Monday ahead of free agency signings.
The third-year pro became an unrestricted free agent when the Mercury declined to pick up her fourth-year option during the season. Phoenix is under salary cap strain with most of its salaries (64%) tied up in its Big 3 of Diana Taurasi, Skylar Diggins-Smith, Brittney Griner and also Bria Hartley. Cunningham’s 2021 salary was $58,710, the player minimum for two years of experience. The 2022 minimum for 3-plus years is $72,141.
Cunningham averaged 5.6 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 2021, shooting 43.7 percent from the field and 41 percent from 3-point range. She became a key piece to the team’s postseason run, lifting them past the New York Liberty in the first-round single-elimination meeting and later making headlines with Kahleah Copper as they steeped the tea.
Breanna Stewart reaches deal to return to Seattle
Breanna Stewart isn’t going anywhere.
Stewart and the Storm reached a one-year, supermax deal on Monday night to keep her with the team for another season, league sources told Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes.
Stewart was selected by Seattle with the No. 1 overall pick in 2016, and will enter her sixth season with the franchise this summer. The former league MVP averaged 20.3 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game last season, where she earned her third All-Star nod.
The Storm will also keep Jewell Loyd, who the organization used its core designation on before the January deadline. Loyd could have been involved a sign-and-trade, but is reportedly agreeing to return to Seattle, per the Associated Press. Winsidr’s Rachel Galligan reported it’s a two-year deal.
Kia Vaughn joins Dream via trade
The Atlanta Dream have traded for Phoenix Mercury center Kia Vaughn, sending a third-round pick in the 2023 draft in return. The Dream announced the news on Monday. Vaughn, a 12-season WNBA veteran, averaged 4.6 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists primarily playing as Brittney Griner’s backup last season.
Report: Emma Meesseman agrees to deal with champion Sky
Emma Meeseman, who most recently played in the WNBA in 2020 with the Washington Mystics, agreed to a deal with the 2021 champion Chicago Sky, the Chicago Sun-Times’ Annie Costabile reported.
Meeseman played seven WNBA seasons with the Mystics and earned the 2019 WNBA Finals MVP. She sat out last season after playing extensively overseas and in the Olympics for Belgium.
She’s a career 51.3% shooter. In 2020, the forward averaged 13 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game.
Report: Kahleah Copper returning to Sky on multi-year deal
Kahleah Copper, the MVP of the 2021 WNBA Finals, is staying with the Chicago Sky. According to Rachel Galligan of Just Women’s Sports, Copper is staying with the Sky on a multi-year deal.
Copper, 27, was a key contributor to the Sky’s 2021 WNBA Finals run. She stepped up her regular season numbers (14.8 points and 4.2 rebounds) and became an absolute force, averaging 17.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game while shooting 52 percent from the field. She’s also currently playing out of her mind in the Euroleague, and if she can keep that up, Copper and the Sky will have a good chance of running it back in 2022.
Stefanie Dolson reportedly signing with Liberty
The New York Liberty are filling an a glaring empty hole in their lineup. According to The Athletic’s Chantel Jennings, Stefanie Dolson is coming to the Liberty on a multi-year deal.
Dolson, a New York native, is a two-time All-Star who was a vital part of the Chicago Sky’s run to the 2020 Finals. She was also a member of the women’s 3×3 squad that won the gold medal at last summer’s Tokyo Olympics.
With the Liberty, Dolson will join a lineup that will likely include Sabrina Ionescu and 2021 Rookie of the Year Michaela Onyenwere.
Sources: Angel McCoughtry signing with Lynx
Unrestricted free agent forward/guard Angel McCoughtry has reached an agreement with the Minnesota Lynx, Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes reported. It’s the biggest reported signing so far; players can begin signing contracts on Tuesday.
McCoughtry, the No. 1 pick in the 2009 WNBA draft, spent the first decade of her career with the Atlanta Dream. The franchise reached three WNBA Finals and she earned five All-Star nods as well as leading the league in scoring in 2012 and 2013. Ahead of the 2020 bubble season, she signed with the Las Vegas Aces on a two-year deal and was a key asset in the Finals run. They lost to the Seattle Storm.
She is coming off an torn ACL and meniscus sustained in a preseason game in May that kept her out of the season. She did take the court late in the season when the Aces went to Atlanta, her first time in the city since leaving.
McCoughtry will be reunited with head coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve, formerly the Team USA assistant and coach of the current Olympic cycle. Minnesota will need someone to fill in for Napheesa Collier, at least in the short term, as the fellow Olympian is expecting her first child in the spring. Center Sylvia Fowles has indicated she will return to Minnesota as an unrestricted free agent as well.
Report: Storm finalizing deal with Briann January
January, 35, is an unrestricted free agent. The Connecticut Sun opted to core 2021 MVP Jonquel Jones, who they are reportedly working on a multi-year deal with at under the supermax. They also are reportedly signing guard Courtney Williams, a key part of their 2019 Finals run.
January averaged 7.0 points on 42.5% shooting in 30.2 minutes per game in 2021. She spent the first nine seasons of her career with the Indiana Fever, two with the Phoenix Mercury and the last two in Connecticut.
Report: Myisha Hines-Allen staying with Mystics
Restricted free agent Myisha Hines-Allen is finalizing a multi-year deal to stay with the Washington Mystics, Rachel Galligan reported for Winsidr.
The Mystics drafted Hines-Allen in the second round of the 2018 draft. She had a career season in the 2020 bubble averaging 17.0 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.4 steals. The forward shot 51% from the floor, including 42.6% from 3-point range.
Washington had several players enter free agency, led by former MVP Tina Charles. Elena Delle Donne, the 2019 MVP, has not fully returned after two back surgeries since the 2019 championship.
Stefanie Dolson considering Liberty, Storm — not Sky
Stefanie Dolson is unlikely to return to the Chicago Sky, per reports by The Athletic and Annie Costabile at the Chicago Sun-Times. The 6-foot-5 center is reportedly deciding between the New York Liberty and the Seattle Storm.
Dolson, 30, has been traveling the country on free agency visits and met with the Liberty, Las Vegas Aces, Atlanta Dream, Storm and the Sky, where she’s played since 2017. She won the 2021 championship in Chicago, but the club has most of its core in free agency and has decisions to make. It opted to use the core designation on guard Kahleah Copper.
The Liberty feature Sabrina Ionescu and Betnijah Laney with former Mercury head coach Sandy Brondello. Dolson grew up in Slate Hill, New York, about two hours from Brooklyn. They have more cap space to move around because of younger players on unprotected contracts.
Signing with the Storm could re-unite her with Breanna Stewart, who is also an unrestricted free agent. They won two championships together with UConn.
Dolson is averaging 9.4 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.8 assist per game and shot 50.4% over her eight-year WNBA career. The two-time All-Star spent the first three seasons with the Washington Mystics, which drafted her No. 6 overall in 2014.
Sun finalizing multi-year deal with MVP
The Connecticut Sun are finalizing a multi-year deal with 2021 MVP Jonquel Jones, Rachel Galligan reported for Winsidr.
The put the core designation on the 6-foot-6 center ahead of the official free agency period to keep her with the organization. But the core is only a one-year, supermax deal unless the sides negotiate longer terms. Jones has spent her entire career with the Sun and put up a career year both in the WNBA and abroad in 2021. If Connecticut is going to get its championship, it needs its paint presence.
It also needs help from the backcourt, which it reportedly plans to get from free agent guard Courtney Williams. Williams was a catalyst for the Sun’s WNBA Finals run in 2019 before signing a two-year deal with the Atlanta Dream. The Sun are finalizing a deal with her to re-sign there, per Khristina Williams of Girls Talk Sports TV.
Williams is currently playing in the five-week Athletes Unlimited league that tips off its first games on Wednesday. She averaged 12.7 points shooting 45.4%, 5.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists in three-plus seasons with the Sun.
Breanna Stewart meets with Liberty
Breanna Stewart, a two-time champion and 2018 WNBA MVP with the Seattle Storm, met with New York Liberty personnel the week of Jan. 17, Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes reported.
The free agent met with owners Joe and Clara Tsai, first-year head coach Sandy Brondello, everyone in the front office and business leads in Los Angeles, per the report.
The Storm opted to put its core designation on Jewell Loyd, leaving Stewart open to look at other teams as an unrestricted free agent. Sue Bird is also a UFA, but is almost certainly staying in Seattle.
Stewart is a native of Syracuse, New York, about five hours from Brooklyn. Stewart and wife Marta Xargay welcomed their first child, Ruby Mae, in August.
A two-time Olympic gold medalist and four-time NCAA champion with UConn, Stewart is one of the most accomplished professional basketball players already at the age of 27. She has said she plans on being back in town, but also teased the free agency period as potentially one of the splashiest in league history.
A move across the country to re-unite with Natasha Howard alongside scoring guard threats Sabrina Ionescu and Betnijah Laney would certainly do it.
Fowles won’t retire, likely re-signing with Lynx
Sylvia Fowles, a two-time WNBA champion and four-time Defensive Player of the Year, announced on Instagram on Jan. 19 she will return for a 15th season in the league.
Fowles is an unrestricted free agent and was noncommittal on her plans in the Lynx’s final media availability. Her post caption read, “home,” with graphics of Minnesota. She started her career in Chicago.
The Lynx have re-built around “Mama Syl” and Napheesa Collier in recent years following their dynasty run. Collier is pregnant with her first child and is due in the spring.
Fever waive another lottery pick
The Indiana Fever waived Kysre Gondrezick, their surprise No. 4 overall pick in the 2021 WNBA draft, on Jan. 18. It’s the second time in as many years the team has let go of a lottery pick after waiving Lauren Cox, the No. 3 pick in 2020, early in her second season.
Gondrezick was entering the second year of her rookie deal and set to make $71,441 in the 2022 season, per Her Hoop Stats. She averaged 1.9 points through 19 games before stepping away for personal reasons following the death of her father, former Phoenix Suns draftee Grant Gondrezick.
The Fever have the No. 2 pick in April’s draft.
Storm core Jewell Loyd, not Breanna Stewart
A clearer picture could be coming into focus in Seattle ahead of the 5 p.m. Friday deadline for qualifying offers. The Storm have put the core designation on Jewell Loyd, Rachel Galligan reported for Winsidr. Loyd can now take the one-year, $228,094 supermax offer, negotiate a longer deal with the team or agree to a sign-and-trade deal.
The Storm’s top three of Loyd, Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird, who announced her return for a final year, are all unrestricted free agents. The team had the core designation to use, but could not use it on Bird. And there would be no point in doing so since it’s almost guaranteed she’s staying in the only town she’s ever played. The franchise was fined for posting on social media “she’s back” upon the point guard’s announcement, per the Associated Press.
The other option was two-time Finals MVP Stewart. The core for Loyd indicates the club believes Stewart plans to re-sign in Seattle. If Loyd does want to play elsewhere, the team can broker a trade in which they would have something in return for the talented guard.
The No. 1 pick in the 2015 draft averaged a career-high 17.9 points and 3.8 assists per game in 2020. She was a key part of the 2018 and 2020 title-winning teams.
Sky core Finals MVP Kahleah Copper
The Chicago Sky have opted to use the core designation on Finals MVP Kahleah Copper, one of their plethora of free agents this offseason, Annie Costabile reported for the Chicago Sun-Times. The offer is a one-year supermax deal for $228,094. The sides can negotiate different terms and Copper can agree to a sign-and-trade deal.
Copper told Yahoo Sports in October she was heading into free agency with an “open mind, but I really love the city of Chicago” and it was somewhere she wanted to stay. She averaged a team-best 14.4 points on 45.9% shooting overall. During their long playoff run as the No. 6 seed, she averaged 17.7 points and 5.3 rebounds and shot 52%.
The supermax offer is a bump of approximately $63,000 from her 2021 salary. The Sky have already extended qualifying offers to Diamond DeShields ($73,542) and Lexie Brown ($72,141).
It leaves $534,438 in cap room (excluding non-guaranteed contracts) as the team looks to re-sign a combination of Courtney Vandersloot ($200,000 salary in 2021), Allie Quigley ($194,000), Stefanie Dolson ($175,000) and Astou Ndour-Fall ($70,040).
MVP Jonquel Jones cored by Sun
Jonquel Jones, the 2021 league MVP, received the core designation from the Connecticut Sun on Monday, Rachel Galligan reported for Winsidr. The core qualifying offer is for a one-year, $228,094 supermax deal. Jones can sign the offer or negotiate a multiyear deal with the Sun, which selected the 6-foot-6 forward at No. 6 in the 2016 WNBA draft.
It does not confirm Jones will stay in Connecticut. The team could engage in a sign-and-trade deal, such as the Seattle Storm did in sending Natasha Howard to New York last year. Core players have to approve trades.
Jones, who turned 28 on Jan. 5, averaged 19.4 points, 11.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists in her MVP season.