Editor’s note: This story was first published in the first week of the 2023 WNBA season. The Las Vegas Aces and the New York Liberty will face off for the first time this season at 10 p.m. ET Thursday.

The Superteam Era of the WNBA officially has begun.

Fans have gotten their first glimpses of the new-look New York Liberty and Las Vegas Aces squads. And while 10 other teams – like the Washington Mystics, who topped the Liberty 80-64 to open the season – have four months to make their cases, it’s easy to see why New York and Las Vegas are the favorites to battle it out for the WNBA title.

Here’s how they stack up.

Starting Five

Las Vegas Aces

Candace Parker, F, 6-4: The 37-year-old forward is looking to be the first WNBA player to win championships with three franchises after signing with the Aces as a free agent. She already has rings with the Sparks and the Sky in 2016 and 2021. Parker, who has been candid about being near the end of her professional career, is a two-time WNBA MVP and seven-time all-WNBA first team member. Over her 15-year career, Parker has maintained a reputation as a player who does everything. Last season she averaged 13.2 points, 8.6 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1 steal and 1 block.

A’ja Wilson, F, 6-4: Five seasons into her career and A’ja Wilson has already won two MVP awards. The South Carolina product has been dominant since her Rookie of the Year campaign in 2018, but the 2022 season was her best yet. Wilson led the Aces to their first WNBA title, averaging 19.5 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.9 blocks and 1.4 steals per game.

Chelsea Gray, G, 5-11: After being snubbed for the All-Star game last year, Gray’s second half of the season became a revenge tour. Her play earned the point guard the Finals MVP trophy, as Gray averaged 21.7 points and 7.0 assists per game through the postseason while shooting 61.1% from the field and 54.4% from beyond the arc. Gray showed off her skills as a playmaker for others, and a shot-creator for herself, making over 60% of her contested looks.

Kelsey Plum, G, 5-8: Plum has gotten better every season since she was drafted No. 1 in 2017, and in 2022 she took a major step forward. The guard finished second in the WNBA in scoring with 20.2 points per game while also averaging a career-high 5.1 assists. After coming off the bench in 2021, coach Becky Hammon moved Plum back to a starting role and heavily relied on the guard throughout the season. She played 32.8 minutes per game, which ranked second in the league.

Jackie Young, G, 6-0: Young started the 2023 season on a high note, scoring 23 points in 26 minutes during the Ace’s first game of the season. Young is looking to build on a 2022 season that saw her named the league’s Most Improved Player. That’s largely because of the addition of a 3-point shot to her game. Young shot 25% in 2021 and 23.1% in 2020, but after dedicating herself to the craft, she shot 43.1% from long range in 2022. Young’s ability to shoot 3s adds another weapon to the Aces’ arsenal.

New York Liberty

Betnijah Laney, F, 6-0: Laney has been in the league since 2015 but had a breakout season in 2020 for Atlanta. She’s been a key piece for the Liberty since 2021, and while she missed most of last season with an injury, she’s back in top form and could end up being the unsung hero of this superteam. With big names around her, Laney likely won’t receive the same type of attention, but she will be impactful. The 29-year-old averaged 16.8 points, 5.2 assists and 4.1 rebounds in 2021. She also brings toughness, a scorer’s mentality and established chemistry with Ionescu.

Breanna Stewart, F, 6-4: The offseason’s most sought-after free agent landed with the Liberty after playing six seasons with the Storm. Stewart wasted no time establishing herself, setting a franchise record with 45 points in New York’s home opener. She already has won two WNBA titles and was named Finals MVP in both instances. When she signed with the Liberty, the UConn product instantly catapulted the team to the top of the WNBA.

Jonquel Jones, F, 6-6: When Jones was traded to the Liberty back in January, the move set off the superteam era. The opportunity to play with the 2021 MVP enticed Stewart and Vandersloot to sign with the Liberty, and it likely motivated Parker to sign with the Aces in order to give her a chance at a title as well. Jones is a versatile scoring threat who plays both inside and beyond the arc. In her last season in Connecticut, Jones led the Sun to the WNBA Finals and averaged 14.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1.1 steals per game.

Courtney Vandersloot, G, 5-8: The one thing the Liberty needed after signing Jones and Stewart was an elite, pass-first point guard. They got that in Vandersloot, who is third on the WNBA’s all-time assists leaderboard and holds the record for most assists in a single game with 18. Vandersloot played all 12 of her WNBA seasons with the Sky and won a title with Chicago in 2021 before joining the Liberty.

Sabrina Ionescu, G, 5-11: The 2020 No. 1 pick transitioned seamlessly into the league, but last season was telling for the star guard. She plays best off the ball, which is why Vandersloot was such a key addition. Ionescu averaged 17.4 points, 7.1 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.1 steals per game in 2022, while also posting her lowest turnover mark yet at 3 per contest. Known as the triple-double queen in college, she continues to do a little bit of everything in the WNBA.

Bench Players

Las Vegas Aces

Key players: Alysha Clark, Kiah Stokes, Riquna Williams

The one knock on the Aces last season was their lack of bench. It didn’t end up mattering, as the team secured a title, and Riquna Williams ended up playing big minutes in the Finals, but Becky Hammon & Co. still bolstered the bench unit in the offseason. They added an elite defender in 10-year WNBA veteran Alysha Clark. The Aces also retained Kiah Stokes, who brings rebounding and rim protection.

New York Liberty

Key Players: Marine Johannès, Kayla Thornton, Stephanie Dolson, Han Xu

Everyone off the bench for the Liberty brings something different to the court, which is what you want from secondary players. Johannès could easily be a starter for another team, and she’s an elite passer and crafty shot-creator. Thornton is an experienced vet who played six seasons mostly in a starting role for the Wings, and Dolson brings experience as well with nine WNBA seasons under her belt. Han Xu is a question mark for the Liberty, as she hasn’t seen much time in their first two games, but her size (6-10) and unique skill set (which includes 3-point shooting) make her a threat off the bench.

Head Coach

Las Vegas Aces

Becky Hammon set the bar high in her first season with the Aces, leading them to the franchise’s first WNBA title. She’s an experienced coach who spent years as an assistant for the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs before taking the Aces job. Hammon also played 15 years in the WNBA and was a 6-time all star. The signing of Candace Parker put the Aces in position to compete for the title again, but it didn’t come without controversy. The Aces traded Dearica Hamby to the Sparks in order to make space for Parker, but a WNBA investigation found that Hamby was mistreated during the trade due to her pregnancy. Hammon denied the claims, but she was suspended for the first two games of the season.

New York Liberty

Sandy Brondello, like Hammon, has experience playing in the WNBA as well as coaching. She played professionally from 1992-2004, and she also represented the Australian National team, winning two silver medals in the Olympics. She got into coaching in 2005 as an assistant for the San Antonio Silver Stars, the franchise that became the Las Vegas Aces. Brondello made her name as a coach with the Mercury, coaching in Phoenix from 2014-2021 and winning a WNBA championship in 2014 before taking the Liberty job in 2022.

Team History

Las Vegas Aces

The Aces joined the WNBA in 1997 first as the Utah Starzz, then became the San Antonio Silver Stars (later just the Stars) before moving to Las Vegas in 2018. The franchise had one conference title in 2008, and then the Aces secured the first title last season.

New York Liberty

The Liberty joined the WNBA in 1997 as well but have stayed put in the New York City area (if not always in their current home borough of Brooklyn). The team has won three conference titles, in 1999, 2000 and 2002, but has yet to win a WNBA title.

As 2023 WNBA free agency continues to roll, teams around the league are looking to bolster their rosters ahead of the WNBA draft in April and start of the season in May.

The market is stacked with talent this year. And bombshell moves rocked the league early in the free agency period, with Candace Parker joining the Las Vegas Aces and Breanna Stewart headed to the New York Liberty.

Just Women’s Sports is keeping track of the most notable signings and acquisitions as free agency continues.

Feb. 18: Diana Taurasi signs on for two more years with Mercury

Diana Taurasi is returning for season 19, signing a two-year deal with the Phoenix Mercury.

A three-time WNBA champion, Taurasi reportedly signed at the supermax of $234,936. She currently is the WNBA’s all-time leader in scoring (9,693) and three-point field goals (1,297). She remains the only player to have more than 9,000 career points in the WNBA.

Feb. 17: Liberty re-sign Han Xu

The fan favorite and restricted free agent accepted the qualifying offer from the Liberty, which will keep her in New York for a third season.

The 23-year-old center had a breakout year in 2022, averaging 8.5 points and 3.6 rebounds across 32 games. She is also a member of the Chinese national team.

Feb. 15: Shey Peddy stays with Mercury

The fifth-year guard will re-sign with Phoenix, reported Rachel Galligan of Just Women’s Sports.

Peddy joined the Mercury during the 2020 season. In her first two full seasons in Phoenix, she averaged 7.7 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. She scored the 15th-most points in the WNBA in August before rupturing her Achilles tendon in the first game of the playoffs.

Still, she provided an update on her recovery via Twitter on Jan. 19, writing: “For those inquiring, YES I should be ready in time for the start of the season!! One day at a time.”

Feb. 13: Mercury sign Moriah Jefferson

The Phoenix Mercury signed guard Moriah Jefferson to a reported three-year deal.

Jefferson helped jumpstart the Minnesota Lynx’s offense in 2022 after the team picked her up as a free agent in May. Starting 30 games for the Lynx last season, she averaged 10.8 points, a career-high 4.9 assists and 2.5 rebounds. On June 28, she recorded her first career triple-double against her former team, the Dallas Wings. Prior to the WNBA, Jefferson won four NCAA championships at UConn.

Feb. 13: Sky give Rebekah Gardner a raise

The Sky re-signed guard Rebekah Gardner to a one-year deal worth $100,000, according to Richard Cohen. Instead of accepting her qualifying offer, which was at a $62,285 minimum, Gardner reportedly negotiated the higher salary.

The 32-year-old shined for the Sky in 2022 after going undrafted out of UCLA in 2012 and spending most of her professional basketball career overseas. Gardner was named to the 2022 WNBA All-Rookie Team after finishing second among rookies in steals (1.4 per game) and fifth in scoring (8.4 per game).

Feb. 13: Sun re-sign Brionna Jones to one-yer deal

Connecticut officially announced the re-signing of 2022 Sixth Player of the Year Brionna Jones. After she was named the WNBA’s Most Improved Player in 2021, Jones followed it up with another stellar season. She averaged 13.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.2 steals for the Sun in 2022, earning her second All-Star appearance.

The 6-foot-3 center has spent her entire career with the Sun after she was drafted eighth overall in 2017.

Feb. 11: Diamond DeShields, Marina Mabrey dealt in four-team trade

The Dallas Wings acquired All-Star guard Diamond DeShields and the Chicago Sky picked up breakout guard Marina Mabrey in a four-team WNBA trade. As part of the deal, the Phoenix Mercury acquired 2021 Rookie of the Year Michaela Onyenwere from the New York Liberty and the Liberty received the rights to forward Leonie Fiebich.

The Sky gave up six draft picks in the trade, including three first-round picks to Dallas. That includes Chicago’s 2023 and 2024 first-round selections and 2025 first-round swap rights. The 2024 draft class is expected to be especially deep with NCAA stars Paige Bueckers, Caitlin Clark, Cameron and Angel Reese likely entering the draft.

Feb. 9: Sun send No. 6 pick to Dream for Tiffany Hayes

The Connecticut Sun acquired the rights to veteran shooting guard Tiffany Hayes in a trade with the Atlanta Dream. In exchange, Connecticut sent the No. 6 pick in the 2023 draft to Atlanta.

Hayes has spent her entire 10-year WNBA career with Atlanta. She finishes her tenure as the Dream’s franchise leader in made 3-pointers (325) and is one of only five active WNBA players with over 3,800 points, 900 rebounds, 650 assists and 300 steals in her career.

Feb. 8: Sparks re-sign Jordin Canada

The Los Angeles Sparks re-signed guard Jordin Canada to a training camp contract. The Los Angeles native signed with her hometown team on a one-year deal last February. In 2022, she averaged 9.2 points, 5.5 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 1.4 steals across 32 games and 25 starts.

Drafted fifth overall by the Seattle Storm in 2018, Canada won two WNBA championships and was named to the WNBA All-Defensive First Team as the league’s steals leader in 2019.

Feb. 5: Aces send Amanda Zahui B. to Mystics

The Las Vegas Aces acquired the negotiating rights to Zahui B. in their trade of Dearica Hamby, then flipped those rights to the Washington Mystics. In return, the Aces receive the Mystics’ second-round draft picks in 2024 and 2025.

Zahui B. did not play in the WNBA last season after she was placed on the suspended list due to her overseas obligations. Through seven WNBA seasons, the center has averaged 6.2 points per game.

Feb. 3: Sky continue to replenish roster

Courtney Williams and Elizabeth Williams are joining the Sky as the team looks to reload after a free agency exodus. Harrison also has joined the Sky, who have just one starter in Kahleah Copper left under contract for 2023.

Courtney Williams averaged 11.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game for the Connecticut Sun in 2022. Elizabeth Williams averaged 5.4 points and 3.8 rebounds for the Washington Mystics in 2022, and she is joining the Sky on a two-year deal worth $135,000 annually, Her Hoops Stats’ Richard Cohen reported.

Feb. 3: Kia Nurse to join Seattle Storm

The Storm lost Breanna Stewart to free agency and Sue Bird to retirement, but they are set to add Kia Nurse. Nurse tore her ACL during the 2021 playoffs and missed the entire 2022 season, but she did play for the Canada women’s national team at the FIBA World Cup in September.

The Storm also are expected to sign Arella Guirantes, reported Rachel Galligan of Just Women’s Sports and Winsidr.

Feb. 3: Lynx to re-sign Lindsay Allen and Bridget Carleton

The Minnesota Lynx will re-sign both Allen and Carleton. Allen averaged 6.7 points per game in 2022, while Carleton averaged 4.3 points per game.

The Lynx also signed guard Tiffany Mitchell, who spent the first seven years of her career with the Indiana Fever. She averaged 6.5 points and 1.2 assists per game for the Fever last season.

Feb. 2: Sky lose Azurá Stevens but add Isabelle Harrison

Stevens will sign with the Los Angeles Sparks, reported Rachel Galligan of Just Women’s Sports and Winsidr.

While the 27-year-old forward has played for the Chicago Sky since 2020, she joins the exodus from the team, along with Candace Parker, Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley.

But not all hope was lost for Chicago, as free-agent forward Isabelle Harrison announced on social media that she is signing with the Sky.

In 18 games last season, Harrison averaged 8.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. She averaged less than 15 minutes per game in the latter half of the season, and she was vocal about her frustrations with former Wings head coach Vickie Johnson.

The Wings signed Crystal Dangerfield to a multi-year deal after acquiring her negotiating rights from the New York Liberty via trade in January. In addition to the 2020 Rookie of the Year, Dallas also added 2019 first-round pick Kalani Brown.

Feb. 1: Sophie Cunningham re-signs with Mercury

The 26-year-old restricted free agent agreed to a two-year deal to remain with the Phoenix Mercury, reported Rachel Galligan of Just Women’s Sports and Winsidr.

The 2019 draft pick averaged a career-high 12.6 points per game in the 2022 season. She also has shot 40% or better from 3-point range in each of the last two seasons.

Feb. 1: Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike to stick with Sparks

The sisters are both expected to re-sign with the Los Angeles Sparks, ESPN’s Holly Rowe reported Wednesday, confirming what many already expected.

Nneka Ogwumike was drafted by the Sparks with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft, and she has spent her entire WNBA career with the team. Chiney Ogwumike started her career with the Connecticut Sun in 2014 but joined her older sister in Los Angeles in 2019.

The Sparks also re-signed Lexie Brown. The 28-year-old wing is entering her sixth WNBA season and her second with Los Angeles. The team also signed forward Stephanie Talbot to a two-year deal.

Feb. 1: Erica Wheeler signs with Fever

The 31-year-old guard spent the 2022 season with the Atlanta Dream, but she signed a two-year deal to return to the Indiana Fever. She played in Indiana from 2016-19, and in her last season with the team she was named the MVP of the WNBA All-Star Game.

Feb. 1: Teaira McCowan stays with Wings

The 26-year-old center was traded to the Dallas Wings from the Indiana Fever ahead of the 2022 season, and now she has agreed to a multi-year deal to stay in Dallas.

The Texas native excelled in the final stretch of the 2022 season, posting four double-doubles and averaging 17.4 points and 11.6 rebounds in August.

Feb. 1: Kristi Toliver returns to Mystics

The 36-year-old guard spent the last two seasons with the Los Angeles Sparks but won a WNBA title with the Washington Mystics in 2019.

The Mystics also re-signed guard Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, who played for the team from 2017-19 and then returned during the 2021 season. But the team relinquished the rights to Japanese guard Rui Machida, who joined Washington for the 2022 season.

Feb. 1: Aces add Candace Parker, Alysha Clark and Cayla George

The defending WNBA champions officially inked Parker, reportedly to a one-year, $100,000 deal. The 36-year-old forward had announced her intent to sign with the Las Vegas Aces over the weekend.

The Aces also signed Alysha Clark, in line with a report from earlier in the week, as well as Cayla George, a four-time champion in Australia’s WNBL.

Feb. 1: AD Durr re-signs with Dream

Durr is re-signing with the Atlanta Dream, sources confirmed to Rachel Galligan for Just Women’s Sports.

The 25-year-old guard joined the Dream in June via trade with the New York Liberty, averaging 10.7 points and 1.9 rebounds in 15 appearances before missing the end of the season with a hip injury.

Atlanta also re-signed Nia Coffey. The 27-year-old forward joined the team in 2022.

Feb. 1: Breanna Stewart signs with Liberty

The 2018 WNBA MVP had narrowed her free agency options to the New York Liberty or the Seattle Storm. On the opening day of the signing period, Stewart revealed her destination.

“I decided to go to New York because I want to continue to be great,” Stewart said.

Jan. 31: Teams and players prepare for signing period

Wednesday will usher in the start of the free agency signing period, so players officially will be able to sign contracts ahead of the 2023 season.

Dozens of players are on the market, and Just Women’s Sports has the full list.

Jan. 29: Mystics to sign Brittney Sykes; Alysha Clark to Aces

Brittney Sykes reached a three-year deal with the Washington Mystics, as first reported by The Next Hoops and confirmed by the Washington Post. The 28-year-old guard joins Washington after three seasons with the Los Angeles Sparks.

That move left Alysha Clark without an obvious spot in the Mystics’ lineup, but the 35-year-old wing is headed to the Las Vegas Aces, per a report from The Next Hoops. Clark had met with six different teams in free agency.

Jan. 28: Candace Parker to join Las Vegas

Parker plans to sign with the Las Vegas Aces, she announced via Instagram. The two-time WNBA MVP cited her family as the reason behind her decision.

“After evaluating the landscape together with my family, we’ve decided the Las Vegas Aces are the right organization for us at this point in our lives,” she wrote, adding that her “family’s home is on the West Coast.”