2023 WNBA free agency and trade tracker: Deals, news, more

ByESPN ESPN logo
Monday, February 6, 2023 1:07AM
ESPN

A day after forward Breanna Stewart pushed the New York Liberty toward superteam status, another free agent solidified it. Point guard Courtney Vandersloot announced via social media Thursday she also is headed to the Big Apple after spending her first 12 seasons with the Chicago Sky.

Vandersloot has led the league in assists per game six times and is considered the preeminent playmaker in the league. Vandersloot, who will turn 34 on Wednesday, has averaged 10.2 points and 6.6 assists in her WNBA career and was pivotal in the Sky's 2021 championship.

The WNBA free agency signing period began Wednesday with the most awaited announcement in the league's offseason. Two-time WNBA champion Stewart -- in the prime of her career at age 28 -- left the Seattle Storm, who drafted her No. 1 in 2016, to go home to New York (Stewart is from Syracuse).

Stewart's decision was long thought to be key to other free agency moves, including where Vandersloot went. The No. 3 pick in the 2011 draft, Vandersloot is now in the same backcourt as 2020 No. 1 pick Sabrina Ionescu. And Stewart is in the same frontcourt as 2021 MVP Jonquel Jones, obtained by the Liberty last month via trade from the Connecticut Sun.

The Stewart and Vandersloot moves are the biggest free agency dominoes to fall this offseason, along with two-time WNBA MVP Candace Parker going from Chicago to the defending champion Las Vegas Aces, who are also in the superteam realm.

Stewart's decision to leave Seattle is the biggest move in the history of WNBA free agency, which became much more active since changes in the 2020 collective bargaining agreement. Previously, that designation went to Parker's leaving the Los Angeles Sparks to her hometown Sky in 2021. That led to Parker's second WNBA title, and she hopes to get another by helping the Aces repeat.

While the Liberty and Aces are now in superteam realm, a lot of questions face the Sky and Storm.

The 2023 WNBA season -- the league's 27th -- will tip off May 19.

Keep it here all offseason long for the latest buzz, news and reports surrounding the WNBA.

Ranking the 15 best free agents | Key questions for all 12 teams |

Free agency predictions, top storylines | Trade grades

Feb. 5 updates

5 p.m. ET: The Las Vegas Aces traded recently acquired 6-foot-5 center Amanda Zahui B. on Sunday to Washington for the Mystics' second-round draft picks in 2024 and 2025.

1 p.m. ET: The Chicago Sky have signed Isabelle Harrison. Details were not disclosed. The forward announced the move on social media on Feb. 3.

Feb. 4 updates

1 p.m. ET: The Seattle Storm have re-signed Ezi Magbegor, an All-Defense second-team pick last season who has played all three of her seasons in the WNBA in Seattle. Magbegor, who was part of the team's 2020 title run, finished second in the league in blocks per game and in total blocks in 2022. "Ezi has played a critical role in the Storm's success over the past few seasons and we are thrilled to have her as we build for the future," Storm general manager Talisa Rhea said.

1 p.m. ET: The Chicago Sky have signed guard Courtney Williams. The move was first reported Feb. 2.

Feb. 3 updates

5:30 p.m. ET: The Minnesota Lynx have re-signed forwards Bridget Carleton, Damiris Dantas, Nikolina Milic and guard Lindsay Allen. The team also announced the signing of guard Tiffany Mitchell, a move which was reported on Feb. 2.

2:01 p.m. ET: The Los Angeles Sparks have signed Azurá Stevens, a move that was first reported on Feb. 2. "Azurá was our No. 1 free-agent target," said Sparks general manager Karen Bryant.

1:53 p.m. ET: Isabelle Harrison announced via social media she will sign with the Chicago Sky. The six-year veteran has played the last four seasons with the Dallas Wings.

1:50 p.m. ET: Guard Sami Whitcomb is returning to the Seattle Storm after spending the past two seasons with the New York Liberty, ESPN's Alexa Philippou confirmed. Whitcomb, who played at the University of Washington, is expected to sign a two-year deal. The news was first reported by The Ball Out Media. The Storm announced Whitcomb's signing later in the day; terms of the deal were not disclosed.

1:12 p.m. ET: The Phoenix Mercury have re-signed Sophie Cunningham to a multi-year deal. Cunningham's return to Phoenix was reported Feb. 1

1 p.m. ET: Natisha Hiedeman has re-signed a two-year deal with the Connecticut Sun. The guard returns for her fifth season with the team. "She has been a core piece to our organization's recent success," Sun general manager Darius Taylor said.

11:29 a.m. ET: Center Elizabeth Williams will sign a two-year deal with the Chicago Sky, ESPN's Alexa Philippou has confirmed. The news was first reported by Her Hoop Stats' Richard Cohen. An eight-year veteran, Williams played for the Washington Mystics last season after six seasons with the Atlanta Dream. The Sky announced the signing later in the day; term were not released.

9:50 a.m. ET: Guard Kia Nurse will sign with the Seattle Storm, ESPN's Alexa Philippou reported. Nurse sat out last season as she recovered from a torn ACL but has spent the past two years with the Phoenix Mercury after being traded from the New York Liberty. The Storm announced Nurse's signing later in the day. Nurse's deal is two-year, fully guaranteed with the Storm, her agent told Philippou.

Feb. 2 updates

5:53 p.m. ET: Shooting guard Tiffany Mitchell will sign with the Minnesota Lynx, ESPN's M.A. Voepel confirmed. A first-round draft pick in 2016, Mitchell has played all seven of her WNBA seasons with the Indiana Fever. The news was first reported by Girls Talk Sports TV and Winsidr.

5:23 p.m. ET: Kia Nurse announces on social media she won't be returning to the Phoenix Mercury, where she spent the last two seasons.

2:57 p.m. ET: Veteran guard Courtney Williams announced via social media she will sign with the Chicago Sky, a move later confirmed by ESPN's Alexa Philippou. Williams was part of the Connecticut Sun's WNBA Finals runs in 2019 and 2022.

2:51 p.m. ET: Point guard Courtney Vandersloot will play for the New York Liberty this season. Details of Vandersloot's contract are still being negotiated as the Liberty determine how to fit the salaries of her and two-time Finals MVP Breanna Stewart under the league's hard cap. Stewart is expected to take substantially less so the Liberty can add Vandersloot, sources told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne.

1 p.m. ET: The Dallas Wings have signed guard Crystal Dangerfield to a multiyear deal. Dangerfield, who was acquired via trade with the New York Liberty in mid-January, was the 2020 WNBA Rookie of the Year.

10:28 a.m. ET: Forward/center Azurá Stevens will sign with the Los Angeles Sparks, ESPN's Alexa Philippou reported. Stevens has played the last three seasons with the Chicago Sky, including the team's 2021 title run.

Feb. 1 updates

9:41 p.m. ET: Guard Sophie Cunningham has agreed to a two-year deal to return to the Phoenix Mercury, ESPN's Alexa Philippou reported. Drafted by the Mercury in 2019, Cunningham averaged a career-high 12.6 points in 29.5 minutes per game in 2022.

5:53 p.m. ET: Nneka Ogwumike and Chiney Ogwumike are expected to re-sign with the Los Angeles Sparks, ESPN's Holly Rowe reported.

5:52 p.m. ET: Guard Allie Quigley will sit out this WNBA season but isn't officially retiring, ESPN's Holly Rowe reported. Quigley, a 14-year veteran and one of the league's most prolific 3-point shooters, has spent the past 10 seasons with the Chicago Sky, including the team's 2021 title run. Quigley is married to point guard Courtney Vandersloot, who said earlier this week she would not be re-signing with Chicago.

5:50 p.m. ET: Erica Wheeler is expected to sign a two-year deal with the Indiana Fever, ESPN's Holly Rowe reported. The team announced the news later Wednesday.

4:31 p.m. ET: The Washington Mystics announced they have relinquished the rights to Rui Machida. She appeared in 36 games, starting two, for the Mystics last season, averaging 2.6 assists and 12.9 minutes per game.

3:31 p.m. ET: Guard Shatori Walker-Kimbrough has re-signed with the Washington Mystics. Part of the team's 2019 championship run, Walker-Kimbrough started three of 35 games last season.

3:00 p.m. ET: The Atlanta Dream have re-signed forward Nia Coffey and guard AD Durr. "Nia was the first individual that took a chance on what we believed we could do with this team, and AD is a young talent that we identified would fit well with what we're building," coach Tanisha Wright said. Coffey (knee) and Durr (hip) missed parts of 2022 with injuries, but the team said both players spent the offseason working with the Dream's development and medical staffs. "The amount of time each of them has put in with our staff is remarkable and has shown us how committed they are to their craft and to this franchise," Wright added.

1:50 p.m. ET: The Las Vegas Aces have signed four-time WNBL champion Cayla George, a center who most recently played in the WNBA for the Dallas Wings in 2018, to a free agent contract.

1:22 p.m. ET: Two-time WNBA champion Alysha Clark has signed with the Las Vegas Aces. "Having Alysha Clark join the Aces is like winning the lottery," Aces general manager Natalie Williams said. "She is a savvy defender and skilled scorer from all three levels, as well as a veteran leader who gives us great depth at the guard and small forward spot."

1:18 p.m. ET: Kristi Toliver announces via a social media post that she's returning to the Washington Mystics. Toliver spent the past two seasons with the Los Angeles Sparksbut played for the Mystics for three seasons, including Washington's 2019 WNBA title run.

1:09 p.m. ET: The Las Vegas Aces have signed Candace Parker, four days after the two-time MVP announced on social media she was joining the defending WNBA champions.

1:01 p.m. ET: Center Teaira McCowan has signed a multiyear deal with the Dallas Wings. McCowan appeared in 33 games in 2022, averaging 11 points and seven rebounds, and shooting 60.2% from the field, which ranked sixth in the league.

12:02 p.m. ET: Forward Stephanie Talbot has signed a two-year deal with the Los Angeles Sparks. Talbot, who played for the Seattle Storm last season, shot 39.7% from 3-point range in 2022, which ranked 10th in the league.

12:01 p.m. ET: Breanna Stewart will sign with the New York Liberty, leaving the Seattle Storm after six seasons and two WNBA titles, she announced via Twitter. The news was confirmed by ESPN's Ramona Shelburne.

11:32 a.m. ET: Guard Lexie Brown has re-signed with the Los Angeles Sparks. Brown is entering her sixth WNBA season and second with the Sparks.

11:01 a.m. ET: The Washington Mystics announce they've signed guard Brittney Sykes to a three-year contract. The three-time WNBA All-Defensive honoree spent the past three seasons with the Los Angeles Sparks.

Jan. 31 update

8:52 p.m. ET: Point guard Courtney Vandersloot announced in a social media post that she won't be returning to the Chicago Sky, setting the stage for her free agency move to another WNBA team. "Although I never planned for this day to come, I have decided it is time for me to pursue a new beginning," Vandersloot wrote. "As I look ahead to a new chapter, with a new team, in a new city, know that Chicago, its fans, and the Sky organization will always hold a special place in my heart. It's goodbye for now, but thank you forever."

Jan. 29 updates

2:28 p.m. ET: Forward Isabelle Harrison, an unrestricted free agent who played for the Dallas Wings the past four seasons, has met with the Seattle Storm and will also meet with the Chicago Sky and Los Angeles Sparks, sourced told ESPN's Andraya Carter.

2:10 p.m. ET: Breanna Stewart will sign with either the New York Liberty or Seattle Storm, sources confirmed to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne and M.A. Voepel. Rachel Galligan first reported the news that Stewart had narrowed her potential free agency destinations.

Jan. 28 update

5:28 p.m. ET: After two seasons with the Chicago Sky, Candace Parker announced via an Instagram post that she plans to sign with the Las Vegas Aces. "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," the two-time WNBA MVP and unrestricted free agent wrote. Parker's contract with the Aces will be for one year, her agent, Boris Lelchitski, told ESPN's Alexa Philippou on Saturday. Parker's salary is still being negotiated.

Jan. 22 updates

6:37 p.m. ET: Allisha Gray and the Atlanta Dream will ultimately seek a contract extension for her in Atlanta, multiple sources told ESPN's Alexa Philippou. Gray had only one more year left on her contract upon being traded from the Dallas Wings this week.

3:07 p.m. ET: Breanna Stewart has made charter air travel a key factor in her free agency, league sources told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne. The issue of private air travel has come to the forefront of free agent conversations around the WNBA, multiple sources told ESPN, because of the assumption that Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner will need to fly privately due to security concerns. Griner was wrongfully detained for nearly 10 months in a Russian prison before being released in a prisoner swap in early December.

Jan. 21 updates

2:00 p.m. ET: The Dallas Wings have traded Allisha Gray to the Atlanta Dream in exchange for two first-round draft picks, the teams announced. The Wings pick up the No. 3 pick in the 2023 draft and the Dream's first-round pick in the 2025 draft. Gray averaged 11.7 points and 4.2 rebounds per game in six seasons in Dallas. The Gray trade was previously reported by ESPN on Jan. 18.

8:05 a.m. ET: The Los Angeles Sparks have acquired Dearica Hamby and the Las Vegas Aces' 2024 first-round pick in exchange for the negotiating rights to Amanda Zahui B. and the Sparks' 2024 second-round pick. Hamby is an eight-year veteran who is a two-time All-Star and helped Las Vegas win its first championship in 2022. Later in the day, Hamby alleged the Aces treated her in an "unprofessional and unethical way that ... has been traumatizing" due to her pregnancy.

Jan. 20 update

3:01 p.m. ET: Forward Breanna Stewart, largely considered the top-ranked free agent this offseason, will meet with her current team, the Seattle Storm, and the Minnesota Lynx, New York Liberty and Washington Mystics once the league's free agency period opens Saturday night at midnight ET, sources told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne. The free agency of Chicago Sky guard Courtney Vandersloot is expected to factor into Stewart's decision as well, sources said.

Jan. 18 update

7:15 p.m. ET: The Atlanta Dream have an agreement in place to obtain Dallas Wings guard Allisha Gray, sources told ESPN's M.A. Voepel. Details are still being finalized, but the deal also involves draft picks. Atlanta has the No. 3 and No. 8 overall selections in April's WNBA draft. Gray was the 2017 WNBA Rookie of the Year and a Tokyo Olympics 3-on-3 gold medalist.

Jan. 16 update

2:02 p.m. ET: The Connecticut Sun announce they're sending longtime point guard Jasmine Thomas -- who missed the majority of the 2022 season with an ACL tear -- as well as their 2023 first-round pick to the Los Angeles Sparks in exchange for three young players: 2021 seventh overall pick Jasmine Walker, the rights to 2022 16th-overall pick Kianna Smith and 2022 19th-overall pick Olivia Nelson-Ododa. Smith, the Sun said, is unlikely to play during the 2023 WNBA season after rupturing a patella tendon in December.

Jan. 15 update

5:35 p.m. ET: Forward Jonquel Jones, the 2021 MVP, has been traded from the Connecticut Sun to the New York Liberty in a three-team deal, sources told ESPN's Alexa Philippou. Jones, a four-time All-Star, requested the trade specifically to New York; she had one more year on her contract with the Sun. The deal will be made official on Jan. 16. As part of the trade, Rebecca Allen and Natasha Howard will be sent from New York to Connecticut and the Dallas Wings, respectively. The Wings also receive the rights to Crystal Dangerfield of the Liberty while sendingKayla Thornton to New York as well as Tyasha Harris to Connecticut. The Sun also receive New York's No. 6 pick in the 2023 WNBA draft.

Jan. 13 update

3:15 p.m. ET: The Atlanta Dream announce they have acquired guard Danielle Robinson in a trade with the Indiana Fever, who receive guard Kristy Wallace in the deal. A three-time WNBA All-Star and three-time WNBA All-Defensive Team selection, the 33-year-old Robinson is expected to provide veteran leadership to the team.

Related Video