WNBA free agent notables
As the calendar flipped to 2018, the reminder that the WNBA season is upon us seems to get brighter by day. With a relocation to one of the more popular cities in the country & the excitement of familiar faces in new places, this season is set to continue the steady upward trajectory that the league has maintained the last decade.
The WNBA places the following designations on its players in the offseason:
- Core: Gives team exclusive negotiating rights with the player.
- Reserved: 3 or fewer years of service, prior team has exclusive rights.
- Restricted: 4 or 5 years of services, prior team has the right to match a contract signed with a new team.
- Unrestricted: Free to sign as she pleases.
The full list of each can be found here at wnba.com. Here's the best available unrestricted free agents & what they will bring to the table for any team considering their services.
Note: Players expected to retire/considering retirement/widely expected to return to prior team not considered.
Monique Currie | 6’0 | Guard | Duke | 11 years
Dutty Mo’ Currie. The adage is that the game gets slower as you get older. Fine wine gets better with time. & Mo Currie showed that the only thing that’s been missing for her the last few seasons was winning & having to produce consistently with a purpose. Her 42% three-point field goal percentage in 22 games after being traded to Phoenix from San Antonio is the second-highest mark of her career. On a much larger scale, she carried a young Stars team early in the year before deciding a change of scenery was necessary. Returning to a team that likely shouldn’t have traded her in the first place proved to be a solid match. But will she be looking for a defined role?
Allison Hightower | 5’10” | Guard | LSU | 5 years
One of my absolute favorite players ever, I got to watch Alley’s growth up close & personal as she played a couple years with one of my fellow Murrah Mustangs LaSondra Barrett under Van Chancellor. She plays the game the right way: defense first. Leaving everything she has on that end of the floor because she knows that the work you’ve put in on the other end will take care of itself. She worked HARD to earn an All-Star bid in 2013, return from multiple major injuries with extensive rehab and get back to into the league last year where she belongs. I’d have to believe she’s a boon to team chemistry also.
Tiffany Jackson-Jones | 6’3” | Forward | Texas | 8 years
Likely the most inspirational name on this list, TJJ missed time due to pregnancy and kicking cancer’s ass, then made us all smile by returning to the Sparks last season. Playing for the defending champs with a loaded frontcourt had both its blessings & curses, as she didn’t receive many minutes but her overseas play lets you know she was born ready to handle the responsibility.
Shenise Johnson | 5’11” | Guard | Miami (Fla.) | 5 years
An absolute nightmare to guard, Johnson is a five-tool player: she can score it from deep, midrange, off the bounce, gets to the free throw line & has the capacity to get you a bucket when you need an iso. When she went down, so did Indy’s season. Her return will be a nice boost to whatever team she decided to call home next.
Lynetta Kizer | 6’4” | Forward | Maryland | 5 years
I was very, very frustrated Phoenix traded Kizer away even though it brought a championship because what she brought, is still missing. Young, effervescent, a great teammate, consistent work & a unique skillset to boot. Injury & instability don’t really help but someone needs to find this kid some clock. Fast.
Alex Montgomery | 6’1” | Guard | Georgia Tech | 6 years
Another player I watched plenty of. On a bad team in transition in multiple facets, she took advantage of finally being allowed to play without looking over her shoulder at Laimbeer to snatch her. Career-highs nearly across the board are encouraging, especially if she can recover the 3-point stroke from earlier in her career.
Courtney Paris | 6’3” | Center | Oklahoma | 7 years
Considering she’s a generational talent with one of the best & most easily transferable skills in basketball, it was discouraging to see Paris’ career start rocky but now, a steely vet, she has plenty to offer a team. Specifically, one that will utilize her skillset as opposed to just sticking her under the rim.
Cappie Pondexter | 6’0” | Guard | Rutgers | 11 years
A name that might surprise, Chicago’s own Cappie cannot be counted against. A change of scenery will likely serve everyone well as Pondexter is best when engaged & aggressive.
Carolyn Swords | 6’6” | Center | Boston College | 5 years
To be candid, Swords probably could’ve saved Jenny Boucek’s job. Still not sure why Swords didn’t get more minutes to allow for Langhorne & Stewart to shift up but she’s a strong, skilled finisher who defends, rebounds & will only be better with a year of added health.
Tamera Young | 6’2” | Forward | James Madison | 9 years
Another player directly impacted by the “adjustments” being made by the Sky, Young was able to showcase that she could make open shots last season. Splitting time between the only two franchises she’s ever called home, --both of whom missed the playoffs in the same season for the first time since she was in the league—Young is another player with a solid toolbox that could help a team immediately.