February 6, 2024
The Connecticut Sun will run it back with last year’s core
They re-signed Brionna Jones and DeWanna Bonner
In moves that should ensure the team is once again a championship contender, the Connecticut Sun re-signed their top two average scorers from the 2023 season: forward DeWanna Bonner and center Brionna Jones.
Jones was having a career year in 2023 before going down with an Achilles tear. If healthy, she will substantially elevate the Sun’s frontcourt. Bonner, who averaged 17.4 points per game last season, was an All-Star for just the second time in her career. While she reportedly explored joining other teams, including Phoenix and Seattle, Bonner opted to re-sign with the Sun, sources told The Next’s Howard Megdal.
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What would a healthy Jones mean for the Sun?
Jones averaged career highs of 15.9 points and 8.2 rebounds per game before rupturing her Achilles in June and sitting out the rest of the season. Her availability for the beginning of the 2024 season remains uncertain, but head coach Stephanie White indicated in a press release that she expects to have Jones back for the full year. An Achilles rupture typically takes at least a year to recover from — and oftentimes longer — in order to return to an elite level of play.
“We are looking forward to a full year with Breezy on the floor,” White said. “She is the ultimate teammate, competitor and leader. She’s worked hard through the process of her recovery and rehab and we are ready to get to work with her.”
Jones — a former Sixth Player of the Year (2022) and Most Improved Player (2021) — gives the Sun much-needed size and defensive versatility, if healthy. If she can get back to that level of play, the 28-year-old could reclaim her spot as a cornerstone of the franchise and go back to terrorizing opposing bigs.
“We are super excited that Brionna Jones will remain in a Connecticut Sun uniform,” said general manager Darius Taylor. “She was significantly missed last season and having her back will be tremendous for our organization on and off the court.”
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Can Bonner maintain her high level of play from last season?
Bonner, at age 36, played some of the best basketball of her career in 2023. The veteran was drafted by the Mercury, where she spent 10 seasons and helped the team won two championships. She was named the Sixth Player of the Year three times in her career but has emerged as a primary scoring option in recent years. Entering her 15th season, Bonner is still playing some of the best basketball and hasn’t showed many signs of slowing down.
Both Jones and Bonner signed one-year deals and will be free agents next season. That means Connecticut will have flexibility in the future, which is important given Bonner’s age (36) and Jones’s uncertain health.
A core centered on Alyssa Thomas, Bonner and Jones should be competitive, regardless of how other heavy hitters have elevated their roster. The challenge is that it’s uncertain what kind of player Jones will be in her first year back from such a major injury. And, there are very few professional basketball players Bonner’s age still performing at an elite level. By re-signing her, the Sun are banking on her being able to replicate last year’s success.
That being said, despite the uncertainties, in a market with limited free-agency prospects, Connecticut did the best it could to assemble a competitive core equipped to compete for a championship. Thomas was flat-out one of the best players in the WNBA last season. An offense centered on her, Bonner, and Jones is a difficult matchup for even the league’s most elite defenses.
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