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WNBA 2022 free agency tracker: live news and updates

Emma Meesseman is the 2019 WNBA Finals MVP. (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)

As 2022 WNBA free agency gets underway, teams around the league will look to bolster their rosters ahead of the WNBA Draft in April and the upcoming season.

Reserved free agents who have been extended qualifying offers can re-sign with their teams at any time. Restricted and unrestricted free agents can start negotiating contracts on Jan. 15 and officially sign with teams beginning Feb. 1.

The WNBA free agency market is stacked with talent this year. For more information on the terms, dates and players to know, check out Just Women’s Sportsfree agency primer.

Unrestricted free agent Breanna Stewart previously told SB Nation that she expects this year to be the “biggest free agency” since the new CBA went into effect in January 2020. Follow along with us here as we see if Stewart’s prediction comes true.

Monday, Jan. 31 — Kahleah Copper agrees to multi-year deal with Chicago Sky

WNBA Finals MVP Kahleah Copper is finalizing a multi-year deal to return to Chicago, sources tell Just Women’s Sports. Copper had the core designation placed on her earlier this month. A member of the Sky since 2017, in 2021 she led Chicago in scoring during the regular season (14.4 points per game) and playoffs (17.7). She was the first of two major dominoes to fall for the Sky on Monday, as it was reported by Winsidr’s Rachel Galligan and later confirmed by Just Women’s Sports that the Sky will be signing Emma Meesseman for the upcoming season. A high-scoring power forward, Meesseman is the 2019 WNBA Finals MVP, having won the 2019 championship with the Washington Mystics. She spent last season overseas with UMMC Ekaterinburg.

Tina Charles is also leaving the Mystics, according to the Washington Post’s Kareem Copeland. Last season the former No. 1 overall pick led the league in points with 23.4 per game.

In other Mystics’ news, Elizabeth Williams will join the team on a one-year deal, according to The Next Hoops. The No. 4 overall pick in the 2015 draft, she spent the last six seasons with the Atlanta Dream. Last season she averaged 5.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. The Dream also acquired Kia Vaughn from the Phoenix Mercury in exchange for their 2023 third round draft pick.

Sources told Just Women’s Sports that in other Mercury news, Sophie Cunningham is expected to re-sign with the team.

Sunday, Jan. 30 — Stefanie Dolson to sign with New York Liberty

According to The Athletic’s Chantel Jennings, unrestricted free agent Stefanie Dolson has agreed to terms for a multi-year deal with the New York Liberty. Previously, it had been reported that she had narrowed down her choices to New York and Seattle.

Dolson spent the past five seasons with the Chicago Sky, including winning a WNBA championship with the team last season. Last season the two-time All-Star averaged 7.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists through 24 games.

Mercedes Russell will be returning to the Seattle Storm on a multi-year deal, according to Windsidr’s Rachel Galligan.

Friday, Jan. 28 — Angel McCoughtry to sign with Minnesota Lynx

Unrestricted free agent Angel McCoughtry has reached an agreement with the Minnesota Lynx, as first reported by Girls Talk Sports TV. A member of the Atlanta Dream from 2009-19, McCoughtry spent the past two seasons with the Las Vegas Aces.

A five-time WNBA All-Star, the guard has twice been the WNBA scoring champion (2012, 2013) and twice led the WNBA in steals (2012, 2014). In 2020, McCoughtry averaged 14.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. She sat out of the 2021 season with a torn ACL. McCoughtry is a big pickup for the Lynx, who are returning reigning Defensive Player of the Year Sylvia Fowles for her 15th WNBA season.

Myisha Hines-Allen is also reportedly close to a deal. Hines-Allen will re-sign with the Washington Mystics on a multi-year contract, according to Winsidr.

The Connecticut Sun, meanwhile, have reached an agreement with Courtney Williams, as first reported by Girls Talk Sports TV on Jan. 23 and confirmed by The Next Hoops on Friday. Williams will return to Connecticut after playing for the Sun from 2016-19. The 2021 WNBA All-Star was traded to the Atlanta Dream in February 2020, spending two seasons with the team.

Two-year Sun guard Briann January is expected to leave to sign with the Seattle Storm. January averaged 7.0 points, 3.1 assists and 1.4 rebounds per game for Connecticut last season.

Thursday, Jan. 27 — Stef Dolson narrows down final destination choices

Unrestricted free agent Stefanie Dolson has reportedly narrowed her choices down to New York and Seattle. She had previously been linked to Chicago, Las Vegas and Atlanta as landing spots.

The Olympic gold medalist has been a member of the Sky since 2017. Last season, she averaged 7.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game for the WNBA champions.

Monday, Jan. 24 — Jonquel Jones to sign multi-year deal with Connecticut Sun

Sources told Just Women’s Sports that reigning league MVP Jonquel Jones will return to the Connecticut Sun on a multi-year deal. The deal follows the Sun placing the core designation on Jones with the offer of a one-year, $228,094 supermax deal. According to sources, the multi-year deal that Jones plans to sign is less than the supermax, enabling the team more cap space to work with in free agency.

Jones had a strong 2021 season, winning WNBA MVP, being named to the All-WNBA First Team and making her third All-Star appearances. She led the Sun with 19.4 points per game and the league with 11.2 rebounds per game.

Sunday, Jan. 23 — Courtney Williams to sign with the Connecticut Sun

Per Girls Talk Sports TV, Courtney Williams is expected to finalize a deal and return to the Connecticut Sun. She spent three seasons with the Sun before being traded to the Atlanta Dream in 2019.

Williams spent the last two seasons with the Dream, but was told she would not be re-signed following an incident outside of an Atlanta day club in May. She was later suspended for two games of the upcoming season by the WNBA. While with the Sun she was a major factor in the team’s 2019 WNBA Finals run, averaging 17.9 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists in the postseason.

Saturday, Jan. 22 — Kiah Stokes finalizing deal with Atlanta Dream

On Saturday, Winsidr reported that Kiah Stokes is expected to sign with the Atlanta Dream. Stokes is a six-year WNBA veteran, playing five seasons with the New York Liberty and more recently with Las Vegas. Through 15 appearances with the Aces, she averaged 1.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in 20.5 minutes per game.

According to Winsidr, the Dream are also in the stages of finalizing a deal to re-sign Tiffany Hayes. During the 2021 season, Hayes had a career-best season, averaging 14.7 points, 1.6 steals and 3.0 assists per game.

Tuesday, Jan. 18 — Sylvia Fowles to return in 2022, Indiana Fever waive Kysre Gondrezick

All-Star center Sylvia Fowles intends to return to the WNBA next season, the StarTribune reported on Tuesday. Fowles has played for the Minnesota Lynx in seven of her 14 seasons but is currently an unrestricted free agent. The two-time WNBA champion had one of her best seasons at age 35 in 2021, averaging 16 points, 10.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 31 games.

The Indiana Fever also made headlines on Tuesday when they opted to waive Kysre Gondrezick, their No. 4 overall pick in the 2021 WNBA Draft. Gondrezick played 19 games during her rookie season, averaging 1.9 points in 9.1 minutes. She took personal leave from the team after the Olympics, revealing in November that she needed time to address her mental health after the death of her father last January.

Gondrezick is the second top-four draft pick the Fever have released in two years, after the team waived 2020 No. 3 overall pick Lauren Cox last season. (The Los Angeles Sparks picked up Cox last June and have since re-signed the forward for the 2022 season). The Fever have the No. 2 pick in the upcoming WNBA Draft, where Kentucky’s Rhyne Howard and Baylor’s NaLyssa Smith are expected to be the top prospects.

Also on Tuesday, the Atlanta Dream claimed Megan Walker on waivers. Walker, the ninth overall pick of the New York Liberty in 2020, averaged 4.5 points and 1.4 rebounds in 29 games with the Mercury last season.

Saturday, Jan. 15 — Las Vegas Aces renounce rights of Clarissa Dos Santos

The Las Vegas Aces renounced the rights of Clarissa Dos Santos, a 33-year-old Brazilian post player who was a member of the Chicago Sky from 2015-16. In two seasons in the WNBA, she averaged 4.3 points and 2.2 rebounds in 14.3 minutes per game.

Friday, Jan. 14 — Seattle Storm place core tag on Jewell Loyd

One of the biggest questions of free agency was somewhat answered Friday when the Storm placed the core designation on Jewell Loyd. At the beginning of free agency, it was unclear whether Seattle would choose to put the core designation on Loyd or Stewart, both unrestricted free agents this offseason. In September, Stewart said she expected to re-sign with the Storm, calling Seattle “home.” Loyd, however, remained undecided at the time.

As part of the core designation, Loyd could sign the one-year, supermax deal with Seattle or negotiate different terms. One of the top players in the league last season, the guard averaged 17.9 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game for the 21-11 Storm.

Thursday, Jan. 13 — Shey Peddy signs training camp contract

After being extended a qualifying offer on Tuesday by Phoenix, Shey Peddy opted to sign a training camp contract to return to the team. The Mercury also extended a qualifying offer to Kia Nurse and waived Megan Walker.

Tianna Hawkins is back on the market after the Atlanta Dream waived the forward. In 2021, Hawkins averaged 4.9 points and 3.1 rebounds through 28 games before missing the final four games of the season with a right foot injury.

Wednesday, Jan. 12 — Chicago Sky place core tag on Kaleah Copper

The Chicago Sky opted on Wednesday to put the core designation on Kahleah Copper. The designation gives the Finals MVP the option to accept a one-year, $228,094 supermax deal to return to the team. The Sky will retain her rights, but the two sides can begin negotiating different terms on Jan. 15. While the offer could result in a sign-and-trade, Sky head coach and GM James Wade told Just Women’s Sports that the team wants to see Copper in a Sky uniform “for a long time.”

“She is a very important part of our culture off the court and on the court,” he said. “We appreciate the growth that she has had and we appreciate the fact that she is so motivated to continue to grow and evolve as a star player.

Elsewhere, the Los Angeles Sparks added Gabby Williams to the 2022 roster. Williams was acquired by the Sparks via a trade with the Chicago Sky in May but spent last season on the full-season suspended list due to international commitments with the French national team. The team also announced that 2021 No. 7 overall pick Jasmine Walker will return after missing nearly her entire rookie season with a torn ACL.

Tuesday, Jan. 11 — Phoenix Mercury extend qualifying offer to Shey Peddy

The Phoenix Mercury extended a qualifying offer to Shey Peddy on Tuesday. A three-year WNBA veteran, Peddy is a reserved free agent. She joined the Mercury in August of 2020. During the 2021 season, Peddy averaged 4.1 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists.

The New York Liberty have also been active, extending qualifying offers to Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe and Paris Kea.

Monday, Jan. 10 — Connecticut Sun offer Jonquel Jones one-year super max contract

The Sun offered reigning league MVP Jonquel Jones a qualifying offer on Monday of a one-year super max contract. Under league rules, the starting supermax salary in 2022 is $228,094. Jones can accept the offer or begin negotiations with any team on Jan. 15 as an unrestricted free agent.

In her MVP campaign last season, Jones led the Sun with 19.4 points per game and finished first in the league with 11.2 rebounds per game.

Friday, Jan. 7 — Sue Bird announces return

Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird broke the silence on her future on Friday, announcing that she will return for her 19th WNBA season in an Instagram post. An unrestricted free agent, the 41-year-old is all but certain to re-sign with Seattle and finish off her career with the team that drafted her No. 1 overall out of UConn in 2002. The Storm indicated Bird’s return on their own Twitter page, later deleting the posts because teams cannot officially announce signings until Feb. 1.

Throughout her career, Bird has averaged 12.0 points on 43 percent shooting, 5.6 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 31.4 minutes per game.

Thursday, Jan. 6 — Megan Gustafson returns to Washington on training camp contract

The Mystics extended qualifying offers to Megan Gustafson and Myisha Hines-Allen on Wednesday. On Thursday, Gustafson accepted the offer to return for her second season with the Mystics and fourth in the WNBA on a training camp contract. A reserve player, the 6-foot-3 forward averaged four points and 3.6 rebounds in 11 games last season.

Fever forward Chelsey Perry signed her qualifying offer on Thursday to return to the Fever for a second season. The 26th overall pick in the 2021 WNBA Draft averaged 2.2 points, 1.0 rebounds and 6.7 minutes in six games last season.

Jaylyn Agnew accepted her qualifying offer with the Atlanta Dream, becoming the first player to sign a training camp contract with the franchise. Agnew last played for the Dream in 2020. The guard averaged 7.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.7 assists through eight games with Sparta&K in the Russian PBL League before sustaining an injury that kept her out of the 2021 WNBA season.

Tuesday, Jan. 4 — Lauren Cox, Beatrice Mompremier, Bridget Carleton sign qualifying offers

Forward Lauren Cox signed her qualifying offer to return to the Los Angeles Sparks, as first reported by JWS. The No. 3 overall pick in the 2020 WNBA Draft, Cox was waived by the Fever during the 2021 season and signed with the Sparks on June 30.

Beatrice Mompremier, the 20th overall pick in the 2020 draft, re-signed with the Connecticut Sun on a one-year, $60,471 qualifying offer deal. The 6-foot-4 forward played in all 23 regular season games for the No. 1 Sun last season.

Guard Bridget Carleton signed her qualifying offer with the Minnesota Lynx to return for the 2022 season. The Ontario native averaged 4.8 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 19.3 minutes per game for the Lynx in 2021.

Monday, Jan. 3 — Natisha Hiedeman re-signs with Connecticut Sun

Natisha Hiedman will return to the Sun for a fourth season after signing her qualifying offer. The guard’s contract is for one year at $72,141, the veteran minimum for three-plus years of service. Hiedeman averaged a career-high 7.6 points in 20 minutes per game last season.

Portland Thorns reassign head coach after winless NWSL start

Head coach Mike Norris of Portland Thorns FC watches practice before a 2023 match against Orlando Pride
Mike Norris' tenure as Thorns head coach has come to an end. (Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images)

The Portland Thorns are looking for a new head coach after a winless start to the NWSL season. 

The organization has reassigned head coach Mike Norris to a newly created technical director position. Assistant coach Rob Gale is set to take over as interim head coach while the club conducts a "global search" for its next head coach. 

Norris began his time at the club as an assistant coach before taking the reigns after former head coach Rhian Wilkinson abruptly resigned in 2022. Under Norris, the Thorns finished second in 2023's regular season standings, but suffered three losses in their last five games in a spell that saw them knocked out of the running for the NWSL Shield. They went on to lose their first playoff game in postseason play. 

At the start of the 2024 season, the Thorns went winless through four games for the first time in club history. 

"The results have not gone our way, and in a head coach position, the results do matter," Thorns GM Karina LeBlanc told The Athletic's Meg Linehan shortly after the Tuesday afternoon announcement. “But the results that we have, you can’t just pinpoint it on one position.”

Norris' reassignment marks the first major personnel decision made under the club’s new ownership. RAJ Sports' Lisa Bhathal Merage and Alex Bhathal, who also own the NBA's Sacramento Kings, bought the club in January from Merritt Paulson, who sold the Thorns amidst the fallout stemming from reports of misconduct within the NWSL.

Both the Bhathal family and the Thorns front office have been looking to make changes, and establishing a technical director topped the list. According to LeBlanc, Norris has what it takes to assume the position. 

"Where can we grow? Where are the gaps? How do we move forward with being the standard that people are used to with the Thorns?" LeBlanc continued. "One of [Norris’] strengths is to analyze and process, then come down to communicate what needs to happen."

Despite the dismal start, a quick turnaround could certainly be in the cards for Portland. The club currently leads the league in shots and shots on goal, as does star forward and USWNT standout Sophia Smith

"These changes will help us maximize our strengths as we continuously pursue championship-level success," LeBlanc said, voicing full support for the staffing shakeup.

Serena Williams is ‘super interested’ in owning a WNBA team

Serena Williams speaks on stage during keynote conversation at 2019 conference in San Jose, California
The tennis icon is all in on women's sports — and the WNBA is right on her heels. (Photo by Marla Aufmuth/WireImage via Getty Images)

Could Serena Williams co-own a WNBA team in the near future? 

Speaking with CNN on Monday, Williams expressed her interest in that potential — as well as the mounting enthusiasm for women’s sports around the world. 

"I think women’s sport is having a moment that it should have always had," Williams said. "I feel like tennis has had its moment. It’s international, and it’s huge, and it’s always gonna be there.

"Now it’s time to lift up other sports — women’s soccer, women’s basketball — there’s so many other sports that women do so great, let’s put it on that platform. Women’s basketball is getting there, and it’s arrived."

When asked if she had any interest in adding a WNBA team to her roster of ownership stakes, the tennis great welcomed the idea. "I absolutely would be," Williams said. "With the right market, I would definitely be super interested in that."

"There is no risk — women’s sport is exciting," Williams added, citing the 2024 NCAA women's tournament's record-breaking viewership as evidence. "People are realizing that it is exciting to watch, so it's an overly safe bet."

Williams may not need to wait long to act on that bet. On Monday, WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said that she is "pretty confident" the league will expand to 16 teams — up from its current 12 — by 2028. 

The goal, she said, is to reach 14 by 2026. Oakland's Golden State is already on track to launch the league's 13th team in 2025. The move will mark the WNBA's first new franchise since the Atlanta Dream debuted in 2008.

"It's complex because you need the arena and practice facility and player housing and all the things," Engelbert said at a press conference before Monday's WNBA draft. "You need committed long-term ownership groups, and so the nice thing is we're getting a lot of calls."

Engelbert went on to name a few of the cities behind those calls, saying that the league continues to engage in discussions with Philadelphia, Toronto, Portland, Denver, and Nashville, as well as South Florida.

"These can either take a very long time to negotiate or it can happen pretty quickly if you find the right ownership group with the right arena situation," Engelbert added.

The Commissioner's 16 team goal is not only good news for WNBA fans, it's great news for current and future WNBA players. At 12 teams with just 12 roster spots each, the league is held to a total of 144 players for any given season. An abundance of fresh talent coming up through the NCAA ranks has put pressure on the organization to make room for more worthy competitors, and four additional teams might be just the ticket.

Hellen Obiri claims back-to-back Boston Marathon wins

Hellen Obiri, winner of the women's division of the Boston Marathon, poses with the Boston Marathon trophy
Hellen Obiri, winner of the 2024 Boston Marathon's women's division, poses with her trophy. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Kenyan runner Hellen Obiri won the 128th Boston Marathon on Monday, becoming the first woman to claim back-to-back titles since 2005.

She clocked a total time of 2 hours, 27 minutes, and 37 seconds in a women's division that race organizers described as "historically fast."

"Defending the title was not easy," Obiri said. "Since Boston started, it's only six women [that have repeated]. If you want to be one of them, you have to work extra hard. And I'm so happy because I'm now one of them — I'm now in the history books."

A two-time Olympic silver medalist and two-time 5000m world champion, Obiri is a clear favorite in this summer’s Paris Olympics.

“Last year I was pretty familiar to the marathon, but this year my training was perfect — we trusted everything we were doing,” Obiri said. “When we won last year, of course I was saying I’m going to win this one. Winning is like love. It’s something precious to me.”

Though, she wasn’t without a challenge. Fellow Kenyan Sharon Lokedi finished a mere eight seconds behind Obiri. Edna Kiplagat, who won the 2017 Boston Marathon, completed the podium sweep for Kenya with a third place finish.

Emma Bates, the race's top American finisher, came in 12th.

Obiri wasn't alone in making Boston Marathon history this year. The repeat champ walked away with $150,000 in total prize money allocated from a purse that topped $1 million for the first time ever. 

College rivals Angel Reese, Kamilla Cardoso drafted to the Chicago Sky

Angel Reese and Kamilla Cardoso competing at the NCAA SEC Conference Tournament Championship
Once rivals, Angel Reese and Kamilla Cardoso are now teammates. (Jim Dedmon/USA TODAY Sports)

The Chicago Sky made a splash in Monday night’s WNBA draft, taking Kamilla Cardoso and Angel Reese in the first round. 

South Carolina’s Cardoso, who was the 2024 Final Four Most Outstanding Player, went third to the Sky. The day before, the team had swapped picks with the Minnesota Lynx to land the No. 7 pick as well, which they used on Reese, the 2023 Final Four MOP.

Now, the two will team up in Chicago after battling each other in both college and high school

"She’s a great player, and I’m a great player. Nobody's going to get no rebounds on us," Cardoso joked afterwards, while Reese expressed excitement about playing under new Sky head coach Teresa Weatherspoon.

"Being able to be a Black woman and as a head coach, and everything she's done at the NBA level, I just knew everything they were bringing to the table," Reese said of the Sky. "Player development is something that I was looking for and they looked for in me. I'm super excited for this move."

Former NBA star and Chicago Sky co-owner Dwayne Wade welcomed the pair to Chicago.

“The foundation is set,” he wrote.

The Sky have entered re-building mode after winning a WNBA title in 2021. This offseason, they traded franchise cornerstone Kahleah Copper to the Phoenix Mercury for a package that included the No. 3 picked used on Cardoso.

Now, Cardoso and Reese will be looking to jump-start the team's return to contention.

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