It’s time for some free agency movement in the WNBA as players able to finalize deals as of Feb. 10. There are some big names in the mix this season that could shake up the landscape, including Courtney Vandersloot, Liz Cambage, Brittney Griner, Chelsea Gray, Courtney Williams and Kahleah Copper. League MVP Elena Delle Donne, Finals MVP Emma Meesseman and veteran Kristi Toliver of the Washington Mystics are also unrestricted free agents.
We’ll keep you update to date with the rumors, signings and trades of WNBA free agency. Check back daily.
Reports: Sparks bring back champ Kristi Toliver
Veteran point guard Kristi Toliver will leave the reigning champion Washington Mystics and return to the Las Vegas Sparks, per a report by High Post Hoops. The Washington Post’s Ava Wallace confirmed. Toliver joined the Mystics from the Sparks in 2017.
Quick thoughts on Toliver: She did what she came to do in DC. She wanted another title, she wanted to bring the franchise its first title, she wanted to impart a “championship culture.” Team was still young in many ways when she got there. Her leadership as a former champ was big
— Ava Wallace (@avarwallace) February 10, 2020
Toliver, 33, won a title with the Sparks in 2016 and will reunite with Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike, among other former teammates. Los Angeles suffered a second-round sweep in the postseason that created friction and questions about Derek Fisher’s coaching acumen.
Toliver was a leader for the Mystics’ first championship, though she missed considerable time due to injuries. She’s averaged 12.4 points per game over her career. Per Wallace, she will keep her assistant coach position with the NBA’s Washington Wizards.
The New York Liberty added 5-foot-9 guard Layshia Clarendon, a WNBA all-star in 2017 and current member of the USA Basketball national team that finished the qualifying tournament over the weekend.
Clarendon was most recently with the Connecticut Sun, which acquired her in a July 2018 trade. She missed most of the team’s run to the finals due to an ankle injury. She averaged 6.2 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists in nine games at the start of the season.
“Layshia is an elite facilitator and floor general with an extremely high basketball IQ,” first-year head coach Walt Hopkins said in a release. “She not only leads vocally, but also by consistently modeling a tireless work ethic and respect for those around her. She is going to be a massive boon to our roster and our team culture – both on, and off of the court.”
The Liberty have the No. 1 pick in April’s draft and are likely taking Oregon sensation Sabrina Ionescu. The team is moving to Brooklyn after a few years at the smaller, out-of-the-way Westchester County Center.
Sun trade Morgan Tuck to Storm
The Connecticut Sun traded Morgan Tuck, a 6-foot-2 forward they drafted third overall in 2016, and the 11th pick in the draft to the Seattle Storm. The Sun will get the No. 7 pick in return.
Tuck played with Breanna Stewart, the 2018 league MVP, and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis at UConn. She averaged 5.4 points and 3.2 rebounds per game in 14 minutes off the bench over her four-year career.
Aces sign Angel McCoughtry
The Las Vegas Aces signed Angel McCoughtry, a five-time all-star with strong defensive presence who spent her entire career with the Atlanta Dream. She was drafted No. 1 in the 2009 draft and led the Dream to the postseason eight times, including Finals in 2010, 2011 and 2013. She led the league in scoring in the 2012 and 2013 season and made the defensive all-star team seven times.
McCoughtry rehabbed an ACL injury and missed last season. She voiced frustration with the Dream and said the team tried to trade her rather than stay patient.
Per Winsidr, she was considering the Sparks and the Aces, both of which offered multi-year deals rather than one-year offers. The deal is reportedly multiple years at the maximum $185,000 salary.
Sparks trade Kalani Brown to Dream
The Los Angeles Sparks dealt their 2019 first-round pick, Kalani Brown, to the Dream for guard Brittney Sykes and center Marie Gülich.
Brown, a 6-foot-7 center, won the 2019 NCAA national title with Baylor. She averaged 5.1 points and 3.5 rebounds per game in 13.5 minutes off the bench her rookie season.
Sykes averaged 11.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game in her three-year career. She averaged 12.6 points over five games in the 2018 playoffs.
Gülich, a 6-5 German center who attended Oregon State, played limited minutes with the Phoenix Mercury her rookie season in 2018 and again with the Dream last year.
Sun sign Jonquel Jones to multi-year deal
The Connecticut Sun, which lost in the Finals to the Mystics, will bring back Jonquel Jones. Jones averaged 17.9 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game in the postseason run.
“We are pumped to have JJ sign a multi-year contract to stay in Connecticut,” head coach and general manager Curt Miller said in a release. “She has proven to be one of the most dominant and versatile players in the world. She continues to be one of the elite rebounders in the game and took a huge step on the defensive side of the ball in 2019. She is just scratching the surface and we look forward to her continued growth and leadership in 2020.”
Jones, a 6-foot-6 center, has been with the Sun since 2016. The Sparks drafted her sixth overall and traded her east. She has 1,827 points, 1,152 rebounds and 198 blocked shots in her career.
Feb. 7: Sue Bird intends to stay in Seattle
Sue Bird told High Post Hoops she plans to stay with the Seattle Storm, where the point guard has spent her entire 17-year career.
“No, obviously where I am now, it makes zero sense for so many reasons,” Bird said of leaving, per High Post Hoops. “The main one being: I don’t want to.”
Bird, 39, wasn’t able to play in 2019 due to a knee injury she eventually underwent surgery for in September. The three-time WNBA champion averaged 10.1 points and 7.1 assists, good for second in the league, during the 2018 title run. Breanna Stewart, who will also return to the court after her Achilles injury, got in a good joke with High Post Hoops about Bird’s return.
“We have things in Seattle she likes besides basketball,” she said, referring to Bird’s romantic partner, Megan Rapinoe of Reign FC in nearby Tacoma.
Seattle finished the 2019 campaign at 18-16, third in the Western Conference, despite injuries to Bird and Stewart. Head coach Dan Hughes also missed time after he underwent surgery for cancer. They lost in the opening round of the playoffs to the Los Angeles Sparks.
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