January 14, 2022 

Seattle Storm core Jewell Loyd

Much like Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank, and Stanley Tucci, we must investigate the core

With two in-their-prime superstars, Seattle was sure to core one of them. Friday, we found out which.

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The Storm extended the core qualifying offer to Jewell Loyd ahead of the Friday-night deadline, our Howard Megdal reports.

The combo guard is coming off a season in which she set career-highs nearly across the board, expanding her game to cement herself among the couple best two-way backcourt stars in the league. The two-time All-W selection, three-time All-Star, and All-Defense snub finished 21st in the W in net rating and 26th in net plus/minus*, per Basketball Reference, despite cooling down after the Olympics.

Should Loyd accept the offer, she’ll get a one-year supermax ($228,094), and be an unrestricted free agent again next year. Her other option is to negotiate a long-term contract with the Storm — teams retain exclusive negotiating rights with their core player. Either way, she’s in the Pacific Northwest for 2022^.

Seattle cannot core another player until Loyd next becomes a free agent^. And should Loyd sign a multi-year deal, she will be ineligible to receive another core, regardless of her uniform.

Under the current CBA, active since Jan. 2020, only two of six free agents who received core designations chose to sign the one-year offer. And in both of those cases — Tina Charles, New York, 2020; Liz Cambage, Las Vegas, 2021 — the player was quite keen on having the option of leaving the following year. Which is to say I’d expect a long-term contract to be signed, though almost certainly a long-term supermax.

Loyd is the third player to be cored this offseason, along with Connecticut big wing Jonquel Jones and Chicago wing Kahleah Copper. She’s also the fifth player in Seattle history to receive the core designation and the Storm’s seventh time using the core, per Across The Timeline (Crystal Langhorne received one-year core contracts in three-straight years).

*How many points better, per 100 possessions, a team is with a player than without
^Barring a seismic trade

Written by Em Adler

Em Adler (she/they) covers the WNBA at large and college basketball for The Next, with a focus on player development and the game behind the game.

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