A Landmark collective bargaining agreement prior to last season raised the top-tier WNBA salary from $ 215,000 to approximately $ 117,500. Although the new pay scale was in effect before the 2020 season at Florida, it is this year that many of the league’s biggest stars are unrestricted free agents and in a position to cash out.
Free agents were able to officially sign the new contract on Monday, and many did. Here is a breakdown of some of the biggest free-agency moves ever:
Candace Parker to Chicago Sky
Parker, who won the league’s Defensive Player of the Year Award with the Los Angeles Sparks last season, is moving closer to his roots. A Naperville, Ill., Native, he signed with the Chicago Sky on Monday.
“It was now a very difficult decision for Candace to make a home in Los Angeles,” Parker’s agent Boris Lelitsky said in an email on Monday.
Although Parker and her 11-year-old daughter, Layla, have made Los Angeles home, Illinois is where Parker started her. “It was just a decision where she thought she might enjoy writing the last few chapters of her amazing career,” Lelitsky said.
Parker was done with Sparks since he was drafted out of Tennessee in 2008 at No. 1.
This is a major achievement for James Wade, the head coach and general manager of Akash, who has done two postseason shows in two seasons with Chicago.
Wade announced the signing in a statement, saying, “It’s an incredible story of becoming a championship organization and a homecoming among the team that is one of the best players in basketball.”
Chicago immediately becomes a two-time Most Valuable Player Award winner along with Parker, a contender to forward young, athletic players such as guard Diamond DeShells and Gabby Williams. Adding Parker as an alternative to assistant machine Courtney Wandslot could be a problem for position defenders.
Alisha Clark Washington For Mystics
Clarke was a key factor in his 2018 and Seattle Storm for the WNBA Championship. The nine-year-old woman scored 55.8 percent from the field last season with a career-high 10 points per game.
Washington head coach and general manager Mike Thibault has sought with Clark in the past through free agency and trades. “We have offered them a trade at one point,” Thibault told reporters during a video conference call on Monday. “They were clever and didn’t do it.”
With the mystics, Clarke is being challenged to become a more complete player before calling it a career. “It’s not that I should be fancy in anything that I’m doing,” Clarke told reporters on Monday. “I just want to be as well-rounded and before I reach my full potential I decide to hang them.”
Clarke’s biggest asset is his ability to guard every situation. It has been a major part of her game that has attracted the attention of her teammates.
“She is strong. She is physical. It’s like being a little bodyguard wherever I go, “Phoenix guard Diana Taurasi said of Clarke’s last season.
Diana Taurasi returns to Phoenix Mercury
Taurasi, who re-contracted with Phoenix due to a back injury, suffered significant injuries in the last three seasons.
“Diana has given her entire career to our organization and community and we do not accept her unrivaled impact on basketball,” Mercury general manager Jim Pittman said in a statement on Monday. He It also said that the team was confident that he is “All-WNBA ahead of him”.
Taurasi has been with Mercury since they topped him in 2004.
Taurasi’s return, to keep up with 2020 free-agent acquisition Skylar Diggins-Smith, augurs well for Mercury’s future. Diggins-Smith electrified fans with a game-winning buzzer against the Connecticut Sun after Phoenix’s double-digit lead.
“We play well when they play well, and that’s what you need from your best players,” Mercury coach Sandy Brondello said of her backcourt pairing of Taurasi and Diggins-Smith during a postgame media session in September.
But the chemistry is still building, as was evident during the 2020 playoffs when Phoenix lost to the Minnesota Lynx, 80-79, despite being captured in the game’s waning seconds.
Chelsea Gray to Las Vegas Aces
Grey’s move from Sparks to Las Vegas began last season. As a restricted free agent, Gray wanted to test the waters. A California native, she knew that being close to family was one of her priorities, so if she wasn’t going to live in Los Angeles for long, Las Vegas was the next best option. Media company Uninterrupted posted a video on Monday documenting Gray’s last off-season trip to Vegas. The 25-minute video shows how Gray and Sparks signed a one-year deal for the 2020 season to qualify for a maximum contract in 2021 according to the new collective bargaining agreement.
The video ended with the announcement that Gray had signed an agreement with the Las Vegas Aces this time. Despite scoring deep playoff runs in 2019 and 2020, the Aces lacked experience at the guard position. Gray has proved capable as a floor general for a team with frontcroft talent.
Instead of Parker and Naneka Ogumaike, who were central players for the Sparks, Gray will now feature offense alongside A’ja Wilson, reigning MVP, and Liz Cambage, who is expected to return this season after receiving a medical waiver . Year due to epidemic.