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Caitlin Clark offered $5 million to compete in Ice Cube’s league

(Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)

Caitlin Clark has been offered $5 million to play in Ice Cube's Big3 league, he confirmed on social media Wednesday after the offer leaked.

"We intended the offer to remain private while Caitlin Clark plays for the championship," Ice Cube wrote on social media. "But I won't deny what's now already out there: BIG3 made a historic offer to Caitlin Clark. Why wouldn't we? Caitlin is a generational athlete who can achieve tremendous success in the BIG3."

While there has yet to be a women's player in the league, both Nancy Lieberman and Lisa Leslie have been part of the league as coaches and won championships.

"The skeptics laughed when we made Nancy Lieberman the first female coach of a men's pro team, and she won the championship in her first year," Ice Cube continued. "Then Lisa Leslie won it all in year two. With our offer, Caitlin Clark can make history and break down even more barriers for women athletes."

Ice Cube, whose name is O’Shea Jackson, says that the offer was made with the intention that Clark be able to compete in the WNBA “offseason.” Clark is largely expected to be the No. 1 overall pick in the WNBA draft in April. But it’s unclear how the scheduling of the two leagues would work. 

The 2024 Big3 season is set to tip off on June 15, with 10 games spanning through mid-August. The WNBA regular season, meanwhile, begins on May 14 and ends on Sept. 19.

On “The Pat McAfee Show” on Wednesday, Jackson said that the league has yet to hear back from Clark. 

“We just need an answer, as soon as they are ready to give it to us,” he said. “It’s always 50-50 till we get a no. At the end of the day, it’s a generous offer.”

The offer – as well as the confusion on Jackson’s part about the timing of the WNBA season – caused some current WNBA players to react. 

"It's funny cause I be seeing his son at W games.. they don't talk?" wrote former No. 1 pick Rhyne Howard

"So no other women's basketball player has came to mind in the last 7 years?" wrote Lexie Brown, adding that she'd support if Ice Cube wanted to build a women's iteration of the league. She later discussed it on the Gils Arena Show, noting that his reasoning of wanting to “uplift and support WNBA players and women athletes” is a “cop out.”

Kalani Brown, meanwhile, told Clark to "take that money" and start a women's Big3.

WNBA salaries has been a talking point in recent months as more collegiate stars declare for the league. WNBA stars have often made more money playing abroad than they have in the WNBA. Clark is expected to be the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft on April 15, with a rookie salary of $76,535 for lottery draft picks (Nos. 1-4) that rises to $97,582 by her fourth season. But she also has an NIL valuation of almost $3.5 million.

Diana Taurasi famously skipped the 2015 WNBA season at the request of her Russian club, who paid her more to sit out than she would have made in the W. Her contract with the club was reportedly near $1.5 million per year.

Jackson also seemed to suggest that his league could be an alternative to going abroad

“America’s women athletes should not be forced to spend their off seasons playing in often dismal and dubious foreign countries just to make ends meet,” he wrote. Although it’s unclear whether or not the rapper intends to make offers to additional WNBA players. 

While the league does hold prioritization rules in its CBA, those typically apply only to players playing in overseas leagues. It’s unclear whether or not that would prevent Clark’s participation in the Big3 league.

WNBA players that don’t want to go overseas currently have the option of playing in Athletes Unlimited, which competes in the WNBA offseason.

Cameron Brink likes Caitlin Clark for 2024 WNBA Rookie of the Year

Cameron Brink poses with Caitlin Clark at 2024 wnba draft in new york
Cameron Brink poses with fellow draftee — and possible WNBA ROY —Caitlin Clark. (Photo by Emily Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images)

Cameron Brink already has her rookie of the year pick for the upcoming WNBA season, and it’s Indiana-bound star Caitlin Clark

In the latest edition of Kelley on the Street, host Kelley O'Hara caught up with Brink in New York hours before the Stanford phenom went No. 2 overall to the Los Angeles Sparks at the 2024 WNBA Draft. When O’Hara asked who would win the WNBA's rookie of the year, she answered without pause.

"Caitlin Clark," she said, while a fan commented that she thought Brink would take home the award. Brink later added that the extra foul granted to WNBA players will be "good for me."

"I hope it’s me," Charisma Osborne, who was later drafted by the Phoenix Mercury, said when asked her ROY prediction. "But, I don’t know — we’ll see."

Watch more of Kelley on the Street:

Dash winger Maria Sanchez confirms trade request a day shy of NWSL deadline

María Sanchez of Houston Dash during a NWSL game
In December, Sanchez signed a new three-year contract with the club worth $1.5 million including bonuses and an option year. (Photo by Marcus Ingram/Getty Images)

Maria Sanchez issued a statement on Thursday, confirming recent reports that she has requested a trade from the Houston Dash. 

In it, she revealed that the club has been aware of the request "since late March."

"This has all taken a toll and isn’t an easy thing to talk about, but I want to confirm that I’ve requested an immediate trade," she wrote. "My expectations and reasons have been clear. I trust that my current club’s management will honor my decision in a timely manner and proceed with accepting a trade."

"I’m eager to refocus and dive back into what I love most: playing football," she concluded.

Reports of Sanchez's trade request first surfaced on ESPN last week, and were later confirmed by multiple sources. 

In December of last year, Sanchez signed a three-year contract with the Dash valued at $1.5 million including bonuses and an option year. It was the largest contract in NWSL history at the time — a figure that would be eclipsed by multiple contracts in the following months. 

Sanchez spent the offseason as a restricted free agent, meaning that Houston could match any other team's offer to retain her rights. Should the Dash trade Sanchez, her current contract terms would remain intact, limiting potential buyers to teams able to afford to take on an inking of that size.

The Dash has yet to address the trade, instead reiterating to ESPN that Sanchez is "under contract, a choice she made in free agency at the end of 2023." 

Both the NWSL trade window and transfer window close tonight, April 19th, at 12 a.m. ET. The window will stay closed through the next 11 regular season games, reopening on August 1st, 2024.

Seattle Storm debut state-of-the-art $64 million practice facility

Jewell Loyd #24 of the Seattle Storm during warms up during practice on July 11, 2020 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida
Jewell Loyd, seen here practicing at Florida's IMG Academy, and her team are in for a major upgrade this season. (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)

The four-time league champion Seattle Storm unveiled their new practice facility on Thursday, with Storm co-owner Lisa Brummel dubbing Interbay's Seattle Storm Center for Basketball Performance the team’s "new home."

"It's just such a special space," Brummel told Fox 13 Seattle. "I think when the players get here, it's gonna be overwhelming."

The sprawling 50,000-square-foot, $64 million property is just the second designated practice facility to be designed and built expressly for a WNBA team, with the Storm further noting that 85% of all design and engineering team members involved in the project's construction were women and people of color. The finished product holds two professional indoor courts, two 3x3 outdoor courts, a state-of-the-art locker room, and players' lounge, plus designated areas for strength and conditioning, kitchen, dining, and nutrition, and recovery. 

"This facility reflects our commitment to providing our athletes an exceptional environment that supports their growth, health, and performance," said Storm co-owner Ginny Gilder in an official team release. "It’s built for women, by women, embodying our dedication to leading the way in professional women’s sports."

For their part, the team can't wait to make the faciilty their own.

"It's amazing," Storm guard Jewell Loyd told Fox 13. "Not having to drive everywhere around, knowing you have access anytime of the day to get into the gym, to workout." 

Head coach Noelle Quinn said she predicts the team is "never going to leave this building."

"Which is a good thing for me," she continued. "You talk about having an edge in performance. We want our athletes to not only perform on the court, but get whatever they need."

All of the Storm's staff and operations will now live under one roof, and the team also has plans to launch a youth basketball program operating out of the building.

Mystics relocate game to accommodate Caitlin Clark fans

Maya Caldwell, Erica Wheeler, and Lexie Hull of the Indiana Fever celebrate Caitlin Clark
Get ready — Caitlin Clark is coming to town. (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Caitlin Clark effect is quickly making its mark on the big leagues, as WNBA host teams around the country rush to upgrade their Fever games to larger arenas in order to accommodate surging ticket sales.

With Clark mere weeks away from her Indiana Fever debut, both the Las Vegas Aces and Washington Mystics have officially relocated their scheduled home games with head coach Christie Sides' squad. On Thursday, the Mystics became the latest to adjust their plans, moving their June 7th matchup from Entertainment & Sports Arena in Southwest DC to the more centrally located — and much larger — Capital One Arena "due to unprecedented demand."

The Mystics home court's capacity taps out at 4,200, while Capital One Arena — home to the Wizards, Capitals, and Georgetown Hoya's Men's Basketball — can fit nearly five times that crowd at some 20,000 spectators.

"The move to Capital One Arena will allow for additional fans in the stands as well as premium hospitality options, including Suites and the all-new all-inclusive courtside Hennessy Lofts," the team announced via Thursday's press release.

The Aces were one of the first teams to switch venues, aiming to take on the Indiana Fever in front of as many as 20,000 fans inside T-Mobile Arena on July 2nd. That’s a sizable a boost from their home venue, which holds just 12,000.

For those still planning to face the Fever in their home arenas, ticket prices have skyrocketed. Previously scheduled construction has already forced the LA Sparks to relocate their first five games — including their May 24th clash with the Fever — to Long Beach State's Walter Pyramid. The temporary venue is quite the downsize, holding just 4,000 in comparison to Crypto.com Arena's near-19,000. As of Friday, the get-in price for that game started around $400.

Despite fans launching a Change.org petition urging relocation, the Chicago Sky say they're unable to move their June 23rd Fever meeting from Wintrust Arena's 10,000-seat facility to the 23,500-seat United Center due to a concert. Tickets for that game start around $325 as of Friday.

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