The wheels of WNBA free agency keep turning, and the New York Liberty remain in hot pursuit of top target Breanna Stewart.
When the negotiating period started last Saturday, Stewart already was slated to meet with four teams she has marked as her preferred destinations: the Seattle Storm, with whom she has spent the first six seasons of her career, as well as the Liberty, the Washington Mystics and the Minnesota Lynx.
The meetings took place in Istanbul, where the 2018 WNBA MVP is playing in the offseason for Turkish club Fenerbahçe. And the Liberty have made their presence known as Stewart continues her European season.
Liberty coach Sandy Brondello, co-owner Clara Wu Tsai, general manager Jonathan Kolb and assistant general manager Ohemaa Nyanin all were spotted at a Fenerbahçe game Wednesday in Istanbul, as seen in a photo tweeted by basketball reporter Luis Vallejo. Vallejo also tweeted photos of Stewart speaking on the court with Wu Tsai, Brondello and Nyanin.
Las @nyliberty, presentes en Estambul. Diría que son:▪️Sandy Brondello (Entrenadora)▪️Clara Wu Tsai (copropietaria)▪️Jonathan Kolb (GM)▪️Ohemaa Nyanin (Asistente GM)Con todo a por Breanna Stewart. 📸FIBA pic.twitter.com/Nbpmykf2wO— Luis Vallejo (@Lvallejocolom) January 25, 2023
Las @nyliberty, presentes en Estambul. Diría que son:▪️Sandy Brondello (Entrenadora)▪️Clara Wu Tsai (copropietaria)▪️Jonathan Kolb (GM)▪️Ohemaa Nyanin (Asistente GM)Con todo a por Breanna Stewart. 📸FIBA pic.twitter.com/Nbpmykf2wO
So while Stewart (like all players) cannot sign a contract until Feb. 1, the Liberty are not biding their time. They also reportedly met with Courtney Vandersloot in New York, and reports have said the point guard’s free agency will factor into Stewart’s decision.
Since the Storm drafted Stewart with the No. 1 overall pick in 2016, the 6-4 forward has averaged 20.3 points and 8.6 rebounds in her first six seasons in the WNBA. She won WNBA titles with Seattle in 2018 and 2020, and she was named the Finals MVP in both series.
The 28-year-old superstar seems to be having fun with the free agency process, posting emoji-filled tweets and leaving fans scrambling to decipher their meanings.
She also has been vocal about making charter flights a key factor in her decision-making. The WNBA’s current travel policy does not allow charter flights; teams must use commercial flights to travel to regular-season games.
Stewie's latest emoji tweet.She's weighing/juggling her options? 🤔 https://t.co/ke3MYiWSIA— Just Women’s Sports (@justwsports) January 26, 2023
Stewie's latest emoji tweet.She's weighing/juggling her options? 🤔 https://t.co/ke3MYiWSIA