WNBA Free Agency 2023: Winners, losers, and shockers
WNBA free agency is slowing down and we’re tracking the biggest winners and losers from a few weeks of enormous movement.
Free agency helped some teams change the landscape of their franchise, while some teams are rebuilding or trying to remain relevant.
This offseason, superstars such as Breanna Stewart, Candace Parker, and Courtney Vandersloot decided to take their talents elsewhere. Fans can also thank free agency as the WNBA witnessed the birth of the superteam era. Basketball fans and critics may already have the Las Vegas Aces and New York Liberty in the finals (if healthy).
The Aces’ current starting five could feature Kelsey Plum, Chelsea Gray, Jackie Young, Candace Parker, and A’ja Wilson. On the flip side, the Liberty’s starting five could include Vandersloot, Sabrina Ionescu, Betnijah Laney, Stewart, and Jonquel Jones.
Let’s take a look at the winners, losers, and shockers in free agency.
WNBA Free Agency winners:
1. Las Vegas Aces
The Aces will enter the 2023 season as the team to beat, coming off of a championship season. Most of the core from the championship team will be back in 2023 with the expectation of Dearica Hamby. Hamby was traded in the offseason, but the 2022 champs still managed to improve their roster.
Las Vegas arguably won free agency by landing Candace Parker. The two-time WNBA champion will be able to fit in right away. She can impact the game on both sides of the ball.
Parker is a proven leader and will be able to help the team avoid being complacent. In addition to CP3, the Aces signed Alysha Clark who can space the floor and guard multiple positions.
Both players will be able to help Las Vegas space the floor offensively and improve their shooting efficiency. Parker shot 47.9 percent from the floor last season while Clark shot 49.6 percent from the floor and 38.4 percent from 3.
2. New York Liberty
On Feb. 1, Breanna Stewart broke the internet when she tweeted/announced that she would be signing with the New York Liberty. Shortly after Stewart’s announcement, Vandersloot announced that she would be signing with New York as well. Both players will join a franchise that has been trying to find their identity.
The Liberty made the playoffs the past two seasons. Prior to Vadnersloot and Stewie signing with the Liberty, the franchise acquired former MVP Jonquel Jones in a trade.
Coupled with the Aces, the Liberty are the second superteam to form from free agency. New York now has a big four that can score at will. The only Achilles heel for this team could be their defense.
The Liberty will thrive in the fast break and in the half-court. Vandersloot and Sabrina Ionescu can play with or without the ball in their hand. Not to mention, they will be able to run high-low with Stewart and Jones. The team will be able to shoot from all three levels.
Last season the Liberty shot 43.1 percent from the field and 35.1 percent from 3. This season the team will improve their shooting efficiency with the new veteran leadership.
3. Washington Mystics
The Washington Mystics ended last season with an early exit in the first round against the Seattle Storm. However, the team didn’t have their starters consistently on the floor the whole season.
Elena Delle Donne was in and out of the lineup and only played 25 games. The Mystics’ offense relies on Delle Donne being on the court. This offseason, Washington received news that EDD had the best offseason of her career and will be back fully healthy.
Washington also added Brittney Sykes who is a solid defender and inside scorer. The team brought back veteran point guard Kristi Toliver, who helped this team win a championship in 2019. Lastly, the Mystics added size and rebounding with the addition of Amanda Zahui B via trade. Washington will have a seasoned team with energy.
Washington’s core consists of Delle Donne, Natasha Cloud, Ariel Atkins, and second-year player Shakira Austin.