February 14, 2023 

Locked on Women’s Basketball: WNBA free agency report cards, Part II

In part II, Jackie and Sabreena go over the off-seasons of the Aces, Lynx, Liberty, Mercury, Storm and Mystics

It’s time for another episode of the Locked on Women’s Basketball podcast. In this episode, host and New York Liberty beat writer Jackie Powell is joined by The Athletic’s Sabreena Merchant to dish out our grades for each WNBA team and their corresponding moves during free agency. In the second part of our two-part special, Jackie and Sabreena go over the off-seasons of the Las Vegas Aces, the Minnesota Lynx, the New York Liberty, the Phoenix Mercury, the Seattle Storm and the Washington Mystics.

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Note: This episode was recorded before the four-team trade between the Chicago Sky, Dallas Wings, Phoenix Mercury and New York Liberty. And it was recorded before the Mercury signed unrestricted free agent Moriah Jefferson and the Dream claimed Iliana Rupert off waivers.

Sabreena on her grade for the Las Vegas Aces:

“Yeah. So I mean, the team is undergoing multiple investigations right now, which clarifies that their statement yesterday appeared to misunderstand which investigation they were actually responding to. So I had a difficult time separating the Dearica Hamby situation and the pay-for-play situation from what they’ve accomplished as an actual basketball team in terms of the basketball makeup; I gave them an A plus, they got Candace Parker, they got Alysha Clark, I really liked the fit.

I don’t think it’s possible to say that the Aces haven’t improved. And, you know, everything makes sense, basketball-wise. But the way they got those players is under investigation; if they’re going to be able to keep those players as a result of the investigation, nobody knows. So, this one, I actually just had blank because I didn’t know what to put right. Like, how do I separate what the Aces are doing off the court from what they’re trying to do on the court? But if we’re talking basketball, it’s an A plus.”

Sabreena on how she graded the Minnesota Lynx:

“Another team that was tough to deal with; for those of you who happen to read my winners and losers column, I did put Minnesota in the losers column because they struck out on every single one of the big free agents that they went for. But in terms of grading, I don’t fault them for that. In the same way that I fault Chicago and Seattle for losing outgoing free agents, so I just gave them (C) because I like the flyers that they took on Maya Dodson. You know, Kiana Williams bringing Nikolina Milic back. I loved watching her play last year. And then bringing Tiffany Mitchell is not really a needle mover, but it seems fine. You know? So again, yeah, that’s how I went straight C.”

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