February 9, 2024
Locked On Women’s Basketball: Phoenix Mercury are making moves in 2024 WNBA free agency
'[Phoenix] needed somebody that's really going to be that number one player'
On today’s episode of Locked On Women’s Basketball, host Natalie Heavren is joined by Mercury beat writer Jesse Morrison to recap all of the moves Phoenix has made over the past week as WNBA free agency opens up. From signing major free agent point guard Natasha Cloud, to trading away significant draft capital to the Chicago Sky for Kahleah Copper, the Mercury seem to be planning for another win-now season.
“I mean, Diana Taurasi is not her prime anymore. That’s no secret. I would say that Brittney Griner is no longer in her prime. They both missed their fair share of games last season,” Morrison explained. “[Phoenix] needed somebody that’s really going to be that number one player, that number one option in their prime.”
Add Locked On Women’s Basketball to your daily routine
Here at The Next, in addition to the 24/7/365 written content our staff provides, we also host the daily Locked On Women’s Basketball podcast. Join us Monday through Saturday each week as we discuss all things WNBA, collegiate basketball, basketball history and much more. Listen wherever you find podcasts or watch on YouTube.
Morrison then described how Copper helps fill that role for the Mercury: “She’s been in three straight all star games … She just won a championship against Phoenix in 2021, she’s stayed very healthy the last few years and yeah, 18.7 points per game last year shot over 40% from three. She’s exactly the player that they need.”
As for Cloud and Allen, the Mercury’s newest additions at guard, the two discussed how they simultaneously improve the team’s offense and defense.
“They moved on from Moriah Jefferson, who was their point guard last season. [I] kind of saw the writing on the wall there because Suge Sutton has agreed to her qualifying deal with Phoenix … she saves them a lot of money, and she was debatably better, if not the same, as Moriah Jefferson last year,” Morrison explained. “With the signing of Natasha Cloud, bringing her in, they were going to move off from a point guard and they needed defense.”
The Next and The Equalizer are teaming up
The Next is partnering with The Equalizer to bring more women’s sports stories to your inbox. Subscribers to The Next now receive 50% off their subscription to The Equalizer for 24/7 coverage of women’s soccer.
“If you look at the block numbers for Rebecca Allen, they’re up there with post players in the WNBA,” Morrison said. “[She’s] going to be a good addition for a team that wasn’t great on defense last year and they definitely need it. Again, with Diana Taurasi going to be in her 20th season, Brittney Griner now being in the league over a decade, they need defense and Rebecca Allen can provide that. She played all 40 games last year, which is a plus.”
They also discussed the Mercury’s remaining salary cap situation and what other WNBA free agency moves they could make, including top targets in the WNBA draft. Make sure to subscribe to the Locked On Women’s Basketball podcast to keep learning about the WNBA, women’s college basketball, basketball history and much more!