February 1, 2023
Breanna Stewart announces she’s joining the New York Liberty
A seismic move for an original WNBA franchise
After multiple emoji tweets, a national discussion on WNBA travel, and public recruitment tactics from Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant, Breanna Stewart will begin a new phase in her career with the New York Liberty.
Stewart took to Twitter once again to not drop her cryptic emojis, but this time to finally announce where she will play the next phrase in her WNBA career, news that the basketball world has been anxiously waiting for.
Following an explosive beginning to the year in the WNBA that included four trades in the middle of January, the chatter around free agency quieted briefly once highly coveted free agents like Stewart began meeting with teams during the negotiation period.
Still, the stories began ramping up this weekend, with our Howard Megdal reporting everything from Alysha Clark to Las Vegas to Brittney Sykes heading east to the Washington Mystics.
Stewart’s impending decision kept a lot of other player movement mum. But on Tuesday, two days following Candace Parker’s dramatic announcement that she would be taking her talents to Las Vegas to make the defending champions a superteam, Stewart’s decision signals not only a response but a trickle down effect of a changed WNBA pecking order.
“Stewie’s free agency is the story of the WNBA at an inflection point: Players understand their value, the potential of the WNBA, and are eager partners in growing a business that has incredible momentum,” Stewart’s agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas of Wasserman, told ESPN in a statement Wednesday. “She owned the process and the responsibility that comes with power in ways that hopefully will impact how smart free agents of all genders approach similar opportunities.”
The 2X WNBA Champion, 2X WNBA Finals MVP, 2018 MVP, 5X All-Star and 4X NCAA national champion adds to an offseason of almost unimaginable success for Jonathan Kolb and a Liberty team that, just a few years ago, played in a glorified high school arena in Westchester, then posted a 2-20 record in the Wubble.
Both her new teammate and head coach seem very pleased.
Stewart will take her winning ways to an original WNBA franchise that hasn’t won a championship and last made the WNBA Finals over two decades ago. The 2016 No.1 overall pick has averaged 20.3 points per game, 8.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists and an effective field goal percentage during her six year career playing for the Seattle Storm.
Written by Jackie Powell
Jackie Powell covers the New York Liberty and runs social media and engagement strategy for The Next. She also has covered women's basketball for Bleacher Report and her work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Harper's Bazaar and SLAM. She also self identifies as a Lady Gaga stan, is a connoisseur of pop music and is a mental health advocate.