Breanna Stewart says WNBA is at a ‘tipping point’ amid roster cuts

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Seattle Storm star Breanna Stewart is calling for change amid a flurry of WNBA preseason roster cuts.

“I hate seeing so many great players being cut from WNBA teams,” Stewart tweeted Wednesday. “Salaries went up, but a very restrictive hard cap has put teams in a bind. We need to soften it to allow of our league to grow. The WNBA needs to adjust ASAP (before the next CBA).”

The 27-year-old called out the salary cap, which has prevented some teams from keeping full 12-player rosters. She added that the league needs to develop young talent and capitalize on the capable players leaving college.

“We’re at a tipping point,” she tweeted. “Interest in the WNBA is higher than ever and without some easy tweaks, we are no longer a league that has 12 teams and 144 players — it’s more like 133.”

Connecticut Sun coach Curt Miller also referenced the salary cap when addressing his decision to waive players.

“The underrated part is the hard salary cap,” Miller said Tuesday. “And after your six guaranteed contracts, there’s a ton of different combinations of how those other five fit the puzzle pieces of your salary cap.

“And so what the general public forgets at times, it’s not always about the best 11 players, it’s the best 11 players that fit under your salary cap,” the coach continued. “So you have to make tough decisions to fit under a league that has a hard salary cap.”

Under the WNBA’s CBA, signed in 2020, the salary cap is fixed and increases by three percent annually through the 2027 season.

Players and league insiders have also been calling for expansion as a means to capture the growing women’s basketball talent pool, with WNBPA president Nneka Ogwumike telling Just Women’s Sports in February that she’d like to see expansion happen “yesterday.”

Commissioner Cathy Engelbert has been more measured in her statements regarding WNBA expansion, telling JWS in February, “If we can move faster on transforming the economics of the league and our 12 teams, then we’ll feel comfortable that we have the right model to bring in new teams to thrive and not just survive.”