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Breanna Stewart questions prioritization clause in WNBA’s CBA

(Joshua Huston/NBAE via Getty Images)

Breanna Stewart isn’t thrilled about the new prioritization clause that goes into effect with the WNBA’s latest CBA, beginning in 2023.

The most recent collective bargaining agreement, signed in 2020, will look to have players prioritize the WNBA over other leagues. Beginning in 2023, players who are late to report to training camp will be levied a mandatory fine. In 2024, players risk suspension for the entirety of the WNBA season.

“Prioritization is, like, the biggest topic of conversation in the WNBA for me, especially in the next couple of years,” Stewart said Thursday on a video call with reporters. “To be able to play overseas at UMMC Ekaterinburg, where basketball is very valued, we’re treated really well and able to make a lot of money, it’s just hard for me. With the prioritization, you’re cutting off one of my sources of income and not substituting it.”

Currently, Stewart makes roughly $1.5 million per season overseas. An unrestricted free agent in the WNBA, she recently signed a one-year supermax deal with the Seattle Storm that is worth $228,094.

Salary increases in the latest CBA were directly tied to prioritization, which was a major concern of owners.

“That’s something that needs to be kind of figured out. I don’t have a great answer for what’s going to happen. But I think it’s going to affect a lot more players in the WNBA than people think right now.”

Exceptions will be made with prioritization, like players’ national team obligations. Graduations and other significant life events would also be cause for exception. Players playing in their first two years in the WNBA will also be exempt from prioritization.

“It’s something that, if I’m quite honest, I’m not the happiest about in our CBA,” Stewart continued. “Because it’s just really limiting what professional women’s basketball players can do in their offseason and their ability to make money overseas.”

WNBA players’ salary has been a major issue that has been raised over the past few weeks. After it was revealed that Becky Hammon would be making north of $1 million per year as the Las Vegas Aces’ head coach, Liz Cambage hit back at the WNBA, calling out players’ low salaries in comparison.