With the calendar flipping to January and the 2021 WNBA Finals in the rearview, it is time for free agency and the look ahead to the 2022 season, which should be another great year in the W.
This offseason, there are ton of star players in free agency that could end up changing a team’s trajectory and potentially putting them into the WNBA Finals conversation. Some of the notable unrestricted free agents are Tina Charles, Liz Cambage, Slyvia Fowles, Allie Quigley, Sue Bird, Breanna Stewart, Courtney Vandersloot, and Courtney Williams.
Over the weekend, teams around the league were able to start negotiations with their own reserved players, restricted and unrestricted free agents. However, free agent deals, offer sheets, and contracts cannot be finalized until February 1.
It will be interesting to see how free agency shakes out, but until the first major signing, we are going to look at the latest championship odds, courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
Las Vegas Aces (+350)
The Aces were eliminated in the semifinals last season by the Phoenix Mercury. Despite their exit, the Aces are still the favorite to win it all as they have will have a new head coach in Becky Hammon. Their notable unrestricted free agents are Cambage, Angel McCoughtry, Kiah Stokes, and Riquna Williams.
Cambage and Wilson have been a dominant low-post duo in the league over the last couple of seasons, but it still has not ended with a title. Last season, Cambage averaged 14.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. If the four-time All-Star center heads elsewhere, it would leave an open spot in the middle for the Aces, but it should not drop their odds.
Connecticut Sun (+400)
The Sun have the second-best odds to win the WNBA title after losing in four games to the eventual champions, the Chicago Sky in the semifinals. The Sun gave their core designation to Jonquel Jones, who was the league’s MVP last season.
This means that Connecticut has exclusive negotiating rights with Jones. Jones makes the Sun a threat to win it all, along with DeWanna Bonner and Brionna Jones. Connecticut’s lone UFA is Briann January, who was solid in a starting role last season.
Chicago Sky (+400)
The reigning WNBA champions could have some new faces on their squad as Allie Quigley, Courtney Vandersloot, and Stefanie Dolson are all unrestricted free agents. They also could lose Lexie Brown and Diamond DeShields, who are both restricted free agents.
However, the Sky did give their core designation to Kahleah Cooper, who was the star of the postseason and WNBA Finals MVP. If the Sky want to repeat, they cannot afford to lose the duo of Vandersloot and Quigley, who were incredible during their postseason run. And we cannot forget about Dolson, who reliable off the bench and when they needed her to start.
Phoenix Mercury (+500)
The Mercury, who were a runner-up in the WNBA Finals last season, will have a new head coach as they parted with Sandy Brondello last month after eight years with the team.
Phoenix has one notable unrestricted free agent and that is Sophie Cunningham, who made a few plays in the postseason. The 25-year-old only averaged 6.4 points per game, but shot 56.5% from three-point range. The Mercury will still be a contender next season as they still have their big three intact with Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner, and Skylar Diggins-Smith.
Seattle Storm (+550)
The Storm got bounced in the second round by the Mercury in the playoffs and have two notable unrestricted free agents in Bird and Stewart.
Stewart missed the last few games of the regular season and playoffs due to a left leg injury. Bird announced earlier this offseason that she will return for her 21st season in the WNBA, but she cannot officially re-sign with the Storm until next month. It also seems like a lock that Stewart would come back, but if she were to leave that would send shockwaves around the WNBA.
The wildcard in this situation is Jewell Loyd, who took off last season and showed that she’s capable of being a No. 1 or No. 2 scoring option. Loyd was also given the core designation, but it would not be a surprise to see her go elsewhere if the right opportunity presents itself.
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