Liz Cambage could be a sought-after unrestricted free agent on the market this month. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The names on the WNBA market are enough to make the free-agency period this offseason one of the most exciting in the league’s history. Now that teams have extended qualifying offers, some players have re-signed and several stars have received the core designation, it’s time to make sense of what’s at stake in the coming weeks.

Before free agents can begin negotiating contracts with teams on Saturday and officially sign deals on Feb. 1, Just Women’s Sports’ WNBA analysts Rachel Galligan and Lyndsey D’Arcangelo run down what each team’s priorities and non-priorities should be entering the 2022 free agency period.

Atlanta Dream

What they should do

The Dream have the cap space to restructure their roster with big signings. Attracting and signing players are two different things, however, and in order to get the big name-free agent, they have to be able to sell them on their vision of success. That will be the task ahead for Atlanta’s new ownership and first-year GM Dan Padover. The Dream need a star to build their franchise around, but they also don’t want to put all of their eggs in one basket and risk getting burned. Atlanta should take the first major “yes” and build from there with a combination of veteran leaders and young talent capable of filling roles and developing in the background. I like the idea of Atlanta bringing back franchise legend Angel McCoughtry. She has a deep connection with the city and the franchise, and her ability to mentor young franchise players like Chennedy Carter is invaluable. — Rachel Galligan

The bank is open for the Dream this offseason, and they can spend the extra cash however they want. A fresh start is definitely in order after the off-court drama and on-court disappointment of last season. Padover’s first order of business should be figuring out what type of team he wants to create, and finding the best available veteran free agent who can lead the team on and off of the court. The video clips of McCoughtry working out with Carter this offseason might be a sign of what’s to come. — Lyndsey D’Arcangelo

What they shouldn’t do

Go out and sign talent upon talent without a clear picture in mind. Team chemistry and culture have to be the greatest priorities. Piecing together the right combination of leaders, young stars, role players and franchise players who buy into the Dream’s vision and goals will be paramount. — Galligan

Overspend. Just because the cashflow is there doesn’t mean the Dream should go on a wild shopping spree. Smart spending is key for any roster, and they have a lot of holes to fill for the upcoming season. — D’Arcangelo

Courtney Vandersloot is an unrestricted free agent. (Chris Marion/NBAE via Getty Images)

Chicago Sky

What they should do

The Sky need to find a way to keep their championship core together while working within the salary cap. That process starts with re-signing Finals MVP Kahleah Copper, one of the most sought-after free agents after elevating her play the last two seasons. The Sky took a big step toward making that happen when they put the core designation on Copper on Wednesday, giving her the option to sign a one-year supermax contract. Next on Chicago’s to-do list is re-signing unrestricted free agents Allie Quigley and Courtney Vandersloot, who would likely have to agree to take less to fit under the cap. I’d also prioritize bringing back Stefanie Dolson, who solidified herself as a veteran leader last season. — Galligan

If the Sky want to run it back for another championship, keeping the core of the team together is paramount. But as Rachel pointed out, there will need to be creative salary negotiations and a willingness from some current vets to play for less. This team has a special bond, and I think everyone would be on board to do whatever they can to stay together and try to repeat. Still, there will be a couple of salary cap casualties. — D’Arcangelo

What they shouldn’t do

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? There is no reason for the Sky to stray from the championship recipe they have built. The big question centers on Diamond DeShields’ future in Chicago. It would be virtually impossible to keep Quigley, Vandersloot, Copper, Dolson and Astou Ndour-Fall and re-sign DeShields. She is the wild card I could see ending up with another franchise willing to pay her more, since Chicago may not be able to match the offer. — Galligan

Overthink it. Dolson was a key factor for the Sky in the playoffs and the Finals, so finding a way to keep her on the roster should be a no-brainer. DeShields is a restricted free agent, meaning if other teams extend her an offer, the Sky have a chance to match. But should they, given how she’s regressed since her 2019 All-Star season? Is DeShields’ value for the Sky worth the cap hit? — D’Arcangelo

Connecticut Sun

What they should do

Whatever it takes to keep reigning MVP Jonquel Jones, which the Sun started by offering her a one-year, supermax qualifying offer on Monday. That would keep the Big Three of Jones, DeWanna Bonner, Alyssa Thomas together. Connecticut is nipping at the heels of a WNBA championship because of the longevity of the roster and consistency of play. Due to injuries, however, the Big Three have played only two regular season games together in the last two years. Signing Jones would finally allow the Sun to put their vision to the test. With limited salary cap space, the challenge will be finding a starting two guard (although a player might consider taking a little less to be a starter on a contending team). I would like to see the Sun find a way to re-sign Briann January, but the cap situation will make that tricky. — Galligan

With Jonquel Jones coming off of the best season of her career, locking her in is the move the Sun should make right out of the gate. I agree that January should be the next priority if they can make it work financially. It was extremely evident how disjointed the Sun’s offense was in Game 4 of the WNBA semifinals without her. — D’Arcangelo

What they shouldn’t do

Make any major changes to their current roster. The Sun are so close to winning a championship, there is no reason to blow it up now. — Galligan

Try to reinvent the wheel. The Sun have a talented core group of players already under contract in Brionna Jones, Jasmine Thomas, Alyssa Thomas and DeWanna Bonner. Locking up Jones and January only cements the bulk of a roster that went 26-6 last season. There’s no need to look elsewhere in free agency. If they take care of business now, the Sun can just sit back and add depth through the draft in April. — D’Arcangelo

Satou Sabally is one of the young players Dallas should continue to build around. (Cooper Neill/NBAE via Getty Images)

Dallas Wings

What they should do

The Wings could try to sign a veteran free agent to complement their youthful roster, but it will be tough. Dallas freed up some cap space by waiving 2020 second-round pick Luisa Geiselsöder, but the $15,372 they have left doesn’t give them much insurance. They might need to part ways with Isabelle Harrison, Moriah Jefferson or a couple of their young players to create more wiggle room. The more realistic option is to continue to develop what they have and see what this group can do with another season under head coach Vickie Johnson. — Galligan

The Wings have very little cap room to work with, no free agents and a full roster that’s overflowing with young talent. They couldn’t make a move in free agency even if they wanted to, unless they made some cuts. And it just doesn’t make sense at the moment. — D’Arcangelo

What they shouldn’t do

I don’t think Dallas needs to make any massive roster changes. The Wings made a decision to ride out this young roster, and the team appears to be trending in the right direction. Give it until 2023 to see what these players are capable of. — Galligan

Feel like they’re missing out on the party. Dallas can take this time to focus on getting the most out of the roster it already has in place. Finding out which player combinations work best was an ongoing issue for the Wings last season, and is something they have plenty of time to get ahead of before the 2022 season — D’Arcangelo

Indiana Fever

What they should do

The Fever need a dynamic scorer and depth on the interior, but will have a tough time attracting top-level free agents to Indiana. Re-signing Bernadett Határ is one affordable way to address that problem after the 6-foot-10 center showed promise in very limited playing time last season. Overall, the Fever need to cut ties with some players and try to attract a game-changer in their prime who is willing to take on the challenge of a rebuild. It’s an uphill battle, but Indiana can start by selling that person on being the face of the franchise. — Galligan

The Fever need more balanced scoring on the offensive side of the ball. Aside from Teaira McCowan, the third-leading scorer on the roster last season, they don’t have enough of a dominating presence inside. While Indiana has the money to bring in a veteran forward or center who can make an immediate impact, the biggest hurdle will be luring top-tier free agents to a franchise that has had a losing record in five out of the last six seasons. — D’Arcangelo

What they shouldn’t do

Sign any more players who are at the tailend of their careers to massive contracts. — Galligan

Sign any more guards. Kelsey Mitchell and Tiffany Mitchell were the leading scorers last season, and Danielle Robinson was fourth with nine points per game. Mitchell is a restricted free agent and a big part of the Fever’s offense, so I expect them to keep her. Add in 2021 No. 4 overall pick Kysre Gondrezick and Aliyah Wilson, and Indiana is all set at guard. Letting go of Lindsay Allen would add to their cash flow and allow them to focus on attracting frontcourt depth. — D’Arcangelo

The Aces' top priority will most likely be to re-sign 2020 MVP A'ja Wilson' (Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

Las Vegas Aces

What they should do

Secure A’ja Wilson for the long run and solidify her as the face of the franchise. Riquna Williams was also a natural fit in the Aces’ lineup last season, and I think they should prioritize bringing her back. To shake things up, Las Vegas could let Liz Cambage walk and use that cap space to add guard depth and a hard-nosed wing. Sophie Cunningham, an unrestricted free agent, would bring an edge to this Aces roster. — Galligan

There’s no way the Aces are going to let Wilson get snatched up by another team. They have the money to provide her a well-deserved supermax contract with some extra cash to spare. With Kelsey Plum and Chelsea Gray locked in on protected contracts, and Jackie Young and Destiny Slocum filling the backcourt, Las Vegas can look to free agency to meet their frontcourt needs. New head coach Becky Hammon has said she wants to shoot more 3s, and a free-agent forward like Shekinna Stricklen would fit that mold. If the Aces aren’t able to fill necessary positions via free agency, the draft is also a viable option. — D’Arcangelo

What they shouldn’t do

Rachel: I don’t see the combination of Wilson and Cambage as a recipe for the Aces bringing home their first championship. I would move on from Cambage and build around Wilson. — Galligan

Stick to last season’s game plan. As well as McCoughtry was playing before she tore her ACL last season, it never felt like she fully gelled in Las Vegas. McCoughtry, depending on how she recovers from her injury, needs to be a go-to veteran option on a different team. And with Gray, Wilson, Plum and Hamby, there just isn’t enough room for her on this loaded Aces roster. As for Cambage, I don’t think she’ll vibe with Hammon’s coaching style or system. I could see her in New York or Los Angeles — two teams that could use a strong center and cities that would appeal to Cambage. — D’Arcangelo

Los Angeles Sparks

What they should do

Find a way to sign Liz Cambage. But that is not as easy as it may seem. Los Angeles would need to move either Kristi Toliver, Chiney Ogwumike or Amanda Zahui B. to free up enough cap space to sign the center to a supermax deal. If not Cambage, Los Angeles has to find a way to sign a top scorer capable of elevating this team back into playoff contention. — Galligan

I really like the idea of Cambage in L.A. It’s the kind of big, flashy city environment she enjoys, and I think she and Sparks head coach Derek Fisher would get along well. But I’m not sure L.A. has the ability to get that type of deal done under the cap. And with three second-round picks, they do have a shot at landing an impact player in the draft. They need an additional offensive weapon regardless, which was made clear when Nneka Ogwumike was sidelined for the majority of last season. Perhaps Gabby Wiliams can be that player. — D’Arcangelo

What they shouldn’t do

Draft picks are not the answer for the Sparks if they want to contend in 2022, especially since they don’t pick until the second round. After losing Candace Parker last offseason and missing the playoffs, Los Angeles cannot afford to hold back in free agency. — Galligan

Wait for the draft. It’s in the Sparks’ best interest to explore some options in free agency, even if it means letting go of some current core players and retooling the roster. Despite giving up the second-fewest points per game (77.1) in the league last season, something needs to shift on the offensive side of the ball. If not Cambage, there are a handful of other free agents who would provide an immediate punch to L.A.’s offense, which was dead-last with 72.8 points per game in 2021. — D’Arcangelo

Bringing back Sylvia Fowles will likely be at the top of Minnesota's to-do list. (David Berding/Getty Images)

Minnesota Lynx

What they should do

The Lynx’s plans start and end with Sylvia Fowles and how long she plans to continue playing. Fowles played some of her best basketball last season at age 35, and the Lynx should do whatever they can to re-sign her and have her finish out her career in Minnesota. I also like the idea of bringing back Layshia Clarendon for depth and poise at the guard spot, something this team desperately needs. Beyond that, Minnesota is wing-heavy and could use more depth at forward. If they can re-sign Clarendon for a little less, they might be able to bring on an experienced player like Jessica Breland, who can fill a hole on the roster immediately and set up Minnesota to make a deep playoff run. — Galligan

Re-sign both Sylvia Fowles and Layshia Clarendon. Fowles may be at the tailend of her career, but she’s still playing like she’s in her prime, winning the 2021 Defensive Player of the Year and leading the Lynx in scoring with 16 points per game alongside Napheesa Collier. Minnesota signed Clarendon 11 games into the 2021 season after they were released by the Liberty, and they not only thrived in Cheryl Reeve’s system but helped spark an eight-game win streak. Minnesota has the cap space to keep both players. — D’Arcangelo

What they shouldn’t do

Don’t blow it up. This is a well-rounded roster if they are able to secure Fowles and Clarendon. They have veteran leadership combined with young, promising talent. Add a bit of depth to complement the core, let Reeve work her magic, and this team is in good shape. — Galligan

Look outside of Minnesota. I think the Lynx have everything they need right in front of them. Get Fowles back. Get Clarendon back. And if they can swing it, re-sign Rachel Banham. The Lynx finished third last season and were bounced in a single-elimination playoff game by the eventual WNBA champion Sky. They have a balanced roster with young and veteran talent, and one of the top coaches/general managers in WNBA history. No reason to change it up now. — D’Arcangelo

New York Liberty

What they should do

Bring back Rebecca Allen and Marine Johannes, assuming she plans on returning from overseas. The Liberty don’t have the room to sign a major free agent unless they chose to part ways with two to three of their younger players like Jazmine Jones, Leaonna Odom or Kylee Shook. More than anything, the Liberty have to get healthy and see what their retooled roster is capable of with Natasha Howard, Asia Durr and Sabrina Ionescu. If they were to go after a high-profile free agent, I would add depth at the center position to complement Howard. — Galligan

Re-sign Allen. The Liberty don’t have a lot of roster space or cap room to play with, but they have enough to bring back Rebecca Allen — who averaged nine points per game last season, led the team in steals and provides a burst energy whenever she comes off the bench. She’s also the kind of player Sandy Brondello loves to coach. Aside from Allen, New York already has a solid rotation in place. — D’Arcangelo

What they shouldn’t do

Too much. The Liberty have a ton of potential on their roster that has yet to be realized because of injuries. I don’t see a reason to reinvent the wheel and make multiple roster moves, unless it is to add a no-brainer free agent who can take this team to the next level right away. — Galligan

Overplay their hand. If the Liberty wanted to make a move for a top veteran free agent like Cambage, they’d have to rework the roster and release some players to find the additional cap space. I don’t think it makes sense. One of the reasons Brondello was interested in coming to New York was the roster. There’s a lot of talent to work with and some young players to mold. There’s no need to make a big swing in free agency that could backfire. — D’Arcangelo

Sophie Cunningham proved her value during Phoenix's Finals run last season. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Phoenix Mercury

What they should do

Re-sign Kia Nurse and Sophie Cunningham. Cunningham elevated her play during Phoenix’s run to the WNBA Finals last season and has a chip on her shoulder that fits well with this team. I would also bring back Shey Peddy now that she has evolved into a key piece. Other than that, Phoenix needs to get healthy and potentially add depth at the guard or forward position, but they are a bit strapped for cash with their cap. They could look at Diamond DeShield to fill that role, or try to get the best player available who wants to contend for a championship. Waiving Megan Walker on Thursday freed up some cap space, but they will need to get aggressive to make it possible, such as parting ways with Kia Vaughn. — Galligan

Go for broke. Why not? The Mercury were two wins away from a WNBA championship last season. And with a handful of unrestricted free agents in 2023, including Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner, now is the time to go all in. Of course, they’d have to let go of a couple of players to make it happen and increase cap room. But imagine Taurasi, Skylar Diggins-Smith, Griner and possibly Cambage, DeShields or Myisha Hines-Allen on the same team? Yeesh. — D’Arcangelo

What they shouldn’t do

Stay the same. This Mercury team seems to be missing one key piece to the puzzle to get over the hump, but making it happen is another thing. I don’t think they can be complacent in this free-agency period and expect to return to the WNBA Finals. Their cap situation might get tricky and could end up being a bit short-handed this season with only ten. — Galligan

Let go of Sophie Cunningham. After last season’s Finals run, Cunningham proved her worth. She was able to get Phoenix back in games after knocking down 3s and making hustle plays. Cunningham’s energy is infectious and her contributions go beyond the stat sheet. Re-signing both Cunninham and Kia Nurse would limit the Mercury’s ability to make a play for additional available free agents, and I think letting go of Nurse is more beneficial for this roster. — D’Arcangelo

Seattle Storm

What they should do

Now that we know Sue Bird is returning, it seems all but certain the Storm will re-sign Breanna Stewart. Stewart has the rings and the potential to win more on a supermax deal with the Storm. Seattle has more than enough money to secure Bird, Stewart and Jewell Loyd, but all eyes will be on Loyd and what she wants at this point in her career. After locking them up, Seattle would still have over $320,000 left. That is more than enough to re-sign Jordin Canada and Mercedes Russell, but they might run into issues with limited roster numbers and playing with ten. The Storm should also look to get Epiphanny Prince’s contract off the books and re-sign her to the vet minimum. That would give them enough room to secure their core and add a little depth for one last championship run with Bird. — Galligan

Re-sign the Big Three. As Bird embarks on her farewell tour (I can’t see her not retiring after this season), it’s clear that Stewart and Loyd are the future backbone of the Storm. Seattle should definitely bring back Canada and Russell, even though both could get attractive offers from other teams. Canada has been patiently waiting in the wings behind Bird, and it’s in the Storm’s best interest to keep her for the long term. — D’Arcangelo

What they shouldn’t do

Move away from the core roster that has led them to so much success in the past few years. They especially can’t let Loyd get away. Seattle has the talent and coaching to develop young players into future stars, and they should not veer from that now. — Galligan

Let Loyd leave. Stewart has already expressed interest in returning to the Storm instead of entertaining offers elsewhere. Loyd hasn’t said the same, and free agency will allow her to explore other options. It might be in Seattle’s best interest to core Loyd and offer her the supermax. —D’Arcangelo

(Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

Washington Mystics

What they should do

There is a lot of uncertainty on this Mystics roster. They should try to re-sign Tina Charles if she wants to return, but does she? If Emma Meesaman plans on returning from overseas, they should also re-sign her, but will she? The Mystics have a strong core in Natasha Cloud, Ariel Atkins and Alysha Clark (if healthy), but they clearly need more. Myisha Hines-Allen has been a force for the Mystics, and they should secure her to the roster for the coming years. Depending on Elena Delle Donne’s health, Washington’s roster might look entirely different in the coming months. Their top priorities should be to get healthy and add a dominant center if Charles or Messaman does not return. — Galligan

Keep the Tina Charles experiment going. Charles led the league in scoring last season with 23.4 points per game and was a force inside for the Mystics. And while it’s hard to really know how well Charles and Delle Donne — and Clark, for that matter — work on the court together, it’s worth bringing Charles back, especially with Delle Donne’s back injury a question mark going forward. Washington has the cap space to make it happen while exploring other free-agent options to round out the roster. — D’Arcangelo

What they shouldn’t do

At this point, I don’t think the Mystics fully commit to Delle Donne and expect her to lead them to another WNBA title. To remedy that, they need to move on from some of their unrestricted free agents and add more elite-level talent. If Delle Donne is 100 percent healthy, we all know how dangerous she can be. Washington needs to continue to build for the coming years with more consistency than we have seen. — Galligan

Try to keep everyone. The Mystics have five unrestricted free agents and one restricted free agent on the roster, and they won’t be able to re-sign them all. Their first priority should be Charles, then Myisha Hines-Allen and then possibly Leilani Mitchell. If not Mitchell, they need to find another available free-agent guard to run the point. Either way, Washington can retain its core group and fill out the remaining spots with some fresh faces. — D’Arcangelo

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.

Lyndsey D’Arcangelo is a contributing writer at Just Women’s Sports, covering the WNBA. She also contributes to The Athletic and is the co-author of Hail Mary: The Rise and Fall of the National Women’s Football League. Follow Lyndsey on Twitter @darcangel21.