February 10, 2023 

Locked on Women’s Basketball: Free agency grades, Part 1

Jackie is joined by The Athletic's Sabreena Merchant to grade the first half of the league's offseason moves.

It’s time for another episode of the Locked on Women’s Basketball podcast. In this episode, host and The Next’s New York Liberty beat writer Jackie Powell is joined by The Athletic’s Sabreena Merchant to hand out grades for each team’s offseason so far. In Part 1 of this two-part series, Jackie and Sabreena break down the offseasons of the Atlanta Dream, Connecticut Sun, Chicago Sky, Dallas Wings, Indiana Fever and Los Angeles Sparks. The next six teams’ grades will be discussed on Tuesday’s episode of the podcast.

Note: This episode was recorded before the news of a four-team trade in the works that, per Rachel Galligan, would send Diamond DeShields to Dallas, Marina Mabrey to Chicago, plus Michaela Onyenwere to Phoenix, per Khristina Williams. The Next will provide analysis from all angles as more details emerge and can be confirmed.

Sabreena on her grade for Connecticut so far:

Connecticut I ended up giving a D+. … Let’s make this clear, I’m not in the business of grade inflation. A C is an average offseason. D+ is a little below average, because one, I didn’t think they got good enough value out of the Jonquel Jones trade. All due respect to Rebecca Allen, Ty Harris, and now Tiffany Hayes who is essentially the third piece of that trade (after Connecticut flipped New York’s No. 6 overall pick for her rights). Jonquel Jones is a former MVP. There should have been more out of that. I’m surprised that they looped in Dallas, [but] weren’t able to get Kayla Thornton.

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Sabreena on how she graded Dallas:

Dallas was probably the hardest team in this whole exercise for me to grade. On the one hand, Jonquel Jones has to be traded, you’re not getting Jonquel Jones, but you somehow finagle your way into the second-best player in that trade. That’s cool. But then you’ve also taken on a lot more salary, and I kind of like Ty Harris more than Crystal Dangerfield. I really liked Kayla Thornton and may even like her more as a fit than Natasha Howard in terms of what you’re building.

Let’s watch some games together on Playback!

Join your favorite writers from The Next for live college game streams on Playback this season. Check the schedule for your favorite college or conference, or tune in when you have some free time. There is a pretty good chance we will be watching, too!

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Written by The Next

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