Gear up for fireworks, folks.
The fun period of the WNBA offseason is on the horizon. As of yesterday, teams are now allowed to offer qualifying offers and core designations to their own restricted and unrestricted free agents respectively. That period ends on Jan. 20, with (outside) free agents and teams being able to negotiate deals on Jan. 21.
With superstars like Breanna Stewart, Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike headlining the market — and with rumors already swirling about Stewart eyeing the Big Apple — this is one of most anticipated free-agency periods in recent memory.
Below the star tier, it's worth keeping an eye on what's happening with the Dallas Wings.
Midway through last season, Khristina Williams of Girls Talk Sports (follow her!) reported that Allisha Gray — an All-Star caliber wing for Dallas — would stick around through the trade deadline, but was expected to be moved during the offseason.
Well, the offseason is here, and, per Williams, that's looking more like an inevitability.
Here's her report from Wednesday night:
SOURCES: Allisha Gray is expected to be traded from Dallas. Possible destinations include Washington, Chicago, Connecticut,and Atlanta. Gray is in the last year of her contract and plans to exercise free agency when her contract is up. @GrlsTlkSportsTV #WNBA #WNBAFreeAgency https://t.co/KEp5ALIMib— Khristina Williams (@Khristina) January 12, 2023
Not only do we have a follow-up on Gray, but we also have potential destinations!
The Connecticut Sun are fresh off a Finals appearance (and a loss to the Las Vegas Aces), but have their own tightrope to walk with an actual All-Star. Brionna Jones, a two-time All-Star and reigning Sixth Woman of the Year, is an unrestricted free agent this offseason. And because of the Sun's salary crunch, they may not be able to retain her on the max deal she's worthy of without moving a piece (or two) of their core.
Aside from the Seattle Storm, there may not be a team in The W with more potential roster turnover than the Chicago Sky. After losing to the Sun in the Eastern Conference Finals, they're now faced with a daunting offseason. Parker is a free agent, as is All-Star guard Courtney Vandersloot, sharpshooter Allie Quigley and budding star big Azura Stevens.
The Washington Mystics are stacked with talent, headlined by Elena Delle Donne and a pair of two-way forces in Natasha Cloud and Ariel Atkins. Though they have pending free agents like Alysha Clark, Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and Elizabeth Williams, they don't run the risk of losing core talent like the Sun and Sky, which sets them up as an interesting landing spot for Gray.
And then, we have the Atlanta Dream, whose organizational overhaul has set them up for long-term success. Not only do they have talent now — reigning Rookie of the Year Rhyne Howard has "star" written all over her, and versatile big Cheyenne Parker is coming off the best season of her career — they're flush with cap space.
In summation, the destination list contains three recent contenders and one team that's on the upswing and has plenty of money to spend. All four could use a shooting boost in particular.