The Sun are finalizing a multi-year deal with Jonquel Jones to bring the reigning MVP back to Connecticut, sources tell Just Women’s Sports.
The Sun took the first step toward re-signing Jones two weeks ago, when they placed the core designation on her with the offer of a one-year, $228,094 supermax deal. The multi-year deal she plans to sign with Connecticut is less than the supermax, according to sources, giving the team more cap space to work with in free agency.
Jones’ decision to return to the Sun is crucial for a team looking to build off of their 26-6 regular season record in 2021 and win their first championship. The 6-foot-6 forward piled up the accolades last season — WNBA MVP, All-WNBA First Team, third All-Star appearance — after leading the Sun with 19.4 points per game and the league with 11.2 rebounds per game. She also improved her long-range shooting, making 36.2 percent of her 3-point shots on a career-high 4.3 attempts per game (and nearly winning the 3-Point Contest at the All-Star Game).
Jones has spent her entire career in Connecticut after the Sun acquired her rights from the Los Angeles Sparks at the 2016 WNBA Draft. The Sparks selected her No. 6 overall before trading her to the Sun in exchange for Chelsea Gray and two draft picks.
Securing Jones, 28, to a long-term deal and building the core around her has been Sun head coach and GM Curt Miller’s vision for the team since before the 2020 season. After Jones sat out of the 2020 bubble season and Alyssa Thomas missed most of last season while recovering from an Achilles injury, Miller should finally be able to realize those plans.
With Jones locked in for 2022 alongside the core of DeWanna Bonner, Alyssa Thomas and Jasmine Thomas, Brionna Jones and Natisha Hiedeman, the Sun can turn their attention to re-signing Briann January or looking for point guard help elsewhere in free agency.
Rachel Galligan is a basketball analyst at Just Women’s Sports. A former professional basketball player and collegiate coach, she also contributes to Winsidr. Follow Rachel on Twitter @RachGall.