The WNBA offseason saw the start of the super-team era, a phenomenon only seen in the league’s men’s counterpart before. Which teams fared well in free agency? Let’s take a look.
New York Liberty
The Liberty started the offseason with a bang, trading for 2021 MVP Jonquel Jones. In free agency, they added 2018 MVP Breanna Stewart and Courtney Vandersloot, the league’s active leader in assists. The trio of newcomers will join Sabrina Ionescu, who was an All-Star in 2022, to help New York pursue its first WNBA championship.
One extra advantage for the Liberty is that Stewart, Jones and Vandersloot have played together before. They helped UMMC Ekaterinburg win a Euroleague title in 2021, so there won’t be a getting-to-know-you period. New York starts the 2023 WNBA season on May 19 in Washington and should be a dominant team on day one.
Las Vegas Aces
After winning the 2022 championship, what could make the Aces better? Adding Candace Parker, of course.
The two-time MVP and two-time WNBA champion was coached by Aces president Nikki Fargas when they were at Tennessee, and she won a championship in Los Angeles with Aces point guard Chelsea Gray. Also, Las Vegas is a short flight from L.A., where Parker’s wife and children live. Throw in the fact that the Aces were favorites to win another title before Parker signed, and the signing just made perfect sense.
Not everything is perfect in Vegas, though. Dearica Hamby, a 2022 All-Star, was traded away before Parker posted her new destination on social media. Hamby, who announced her pregnancy at the celebration rally for the Aces’ championship, said she was bullied and lied to due to her pregnancy. The WNBPA is investigating her claims, which will hang over team management.
Los Angeles Sparks
The Sparks didn’t make a big splash like Vegas and New York, but they did make smart moves to rebuild a team that has been through some difficult seasons. They last made the postseason in 2020, and that playoff run ended with L.A.’s best players on the bench as the game ended. Since then, the Sparks have had two coaching changes and a contract divorce with Liz Cambage.
Having hired Curt Miller as head coach and Karen Bryant as general manager, L.A. traded for Jasmine Thomas and Hamby, added Azurá Stevens and re-signed Lexie Brown. Longtime Sparks stars Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike also signaled their plans to re-sign. This team will not be overlooked this year.