November 5, 2020
Here’s your Connecticut Sun offseason salary guide
Roster answers start with Alyssa Thomas
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Prior to the 2020 season, the Sun built a team in win-now mode. However, ahead of the 2021 free agency period the Sun have just four players under contract that account for 44.4 percent of the team’s salary cap.
General manager and head coach Curt Miller will have to get creative in order to put together a full roster and remain under the salary cap.
The four players under contract are DeWanna Bonner, Kaila Charles, Briann January and Jonquel Jones.
Bonner, who has talked repeatedly about remaining in Connecticut long-term, is under contract through 2023 and is not going anywhere.
Kaila Charles, the team’s 2020 second-round draft pick, proved herself on the defensive end and had flashes on the offensive end and is also under contract through 2023. Having a second-year player who can play at her level bodes well for the Sun’s cap space as well as their on-court performance.
Briann January was still able to make an impact on both ends of the floor, and her presence proved invaluable when Jasmine Thomas could not play due to plantar fasciitis, despite a slow start after contracting COVID-19 early in July. January is under contract through 2021.
Jonquel Jones, who sat out last season, is under contract through 2021 and was one of the center pieces of the team’s 2019 season.
Alyssa Thomas nearly took the Sun to a championship in 2020 and the Sun will have to prioritize re-signing her. The team felt her absence in the games she did not play last season and it was clear that it would take multiple players to replace her unique skill set. Connecticut will have to offer her a maximum deal, something that will impact the rest of the team’s signings. During the 2020 season Bonner said that Thomas would not be leaving the Sun. Expect Thomas to be cored, according to multiple sources familiar with Connecticut’s thinking.
Though Natisha Hiedeman is not under contract for the 2021 season, she is an affordable backup guard who’s proven her ability to step up when necessary.
Bria Holmes struggled during the 2020 season but Miller remained complimentary of her efforts. Additionally, the Connecticut native has ties to the area and little incentive to leave if the Sun are interested in keeping her. However, she may need to take a pay cut in order for Connecticut to keep her on the roster.
In 2020 Brionna Jones proved she is a legitimate backup center in this league. The only thing that may stand in the Sun’s way of keeping Jones is money. However, if the team can make the math work, the Sun will be even more dangerous at the post position.
Beatrice Mompremier would provide Connecticut with an affordable backup forward. While she struggled to get going on the offensive end, she proved herself as a capable defender and rebounder.
Essence Carson is the first of a few veteran players that will likely leave in search of more money elsewhere. Connecticut cannot afford to overpay its bench players in the salary cap position it’s in.
Theresa Plaisance has been affected by back issues during her stint with the Sun. She did not play more than 11 minutes in a game this season. If she is willing to sign for less money a deal might be possible, but it may also be time for her to move on and get a fresh start with a new team.
Jasmine Thomas has been a fixture in Connecticut since 2015, however, the Sun will likely not have money to resign both her and Alyssa Thomas. While she has been one of the most consistent point guards in the league over the last several seasons, Alyssa Thomas has a unique skill set and ability to make plays no one else in the league can.
The Sun have many difficult decisions ahead of them before the 2021 season in order to keep the team under the salary cap.
Written by Natalie Heavren
Natalie Heavren has been a contributor to The Next since February 2019 and currently writes about the Atlantic 10 conference, the WNBA and the WBL.
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