September 10, 2023 

Laney, Loyd and Copper sign contract extensions

A flurry of WNBA deals got done ahead of the league's Sunday deadline

Over the final weekend of the WNBA regular season, several players who were set to become unrestricted free agents agreed to contract extensions. The deadline to sign a contract extension is Sunday, the last day of the 2023 WNBA regular season.

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In addition to the previous extensions signed by Kayla McBride, Kayla Thornton and Ariel Atkins, a trio of major extensions were completed prior to the deadline:

  • Betnijah Laney and the New York Liberty agreed to a two-year fully-protected contract extension worth $180,000 in 2024 and $184,500 in 2025. Salary terms were first reported by Howard Megdal of The Next.
  • Jewell Loyd and the Seattle Storm agreed to a two-year fully-protected contract extension worth the supermax of $241,984 in 2024 and $249,032 in 2025. The signing and approximate value were first reported by Andraya Carter of ESPN, followed by the complete terms reported by B. Terrell.
  • Kahleah Copper and the Chicago Sky agreed to a two-year fully-protected contract extension worth the supermax of $241,984 in 2024 and $248,134 in 2025. The extension was first announced via a team press release, with Annie Costabile of the Chicago Sun-Times first reporting the complete terms.

Betnijah Laney extended through 2025

On Saturday, Laney and the New York Liberty agreed to a multi-year contract extension. In the 2023 regular season, she averaged 12.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game, playing in all 40 games. Laney’s turnovers per game also decreased from 2.7 in 2022 to 1.9 this season.

Laney signed with the New York Liberty in 2021 as an unrestricted free agent after winning the Most Improved Player award in 2020 as a member of the Atlanta Dream.

“I’m glad we have her,” New York Liberty head coach Sandy Brondello said. “[Betnijah] brings what you get every single day. We’ve talked about how she’s our defensive anchor. She has to guard their best players and is one of them. She takes great pride in that because of her physicality, smarts and IQ. But offensively, we’ve expanded how we can utilize her with her post-up playmaking. She’s making great decisions. She’s shooting the three-ball as well as she has, and it’s great. It’s always good to see her grow.

“I think that’s part of the evolution of every player. Keep growing, and be better than what you were in the past. And I think she’s gotten better. And I think we can keep there’s even more to come. So that excites me.”

The Liberty also signed Kayla Thornton to a multi-year contract extension through the 2025 season on Sept. 1. Thornton has been a valuable asset coming off the bench after being traded to the Liberty from Dallas in the three-team trade that also landed Jonquel Jones for the Liberty.

The No. 2 New York Liberty finished with a 32-8 record in the regular season and will face the No. 7 Washington Mystics in the first round of the playoffs beginning Friday.

Jewell Loyd to remain with Storm through 2025

On Saturday, Loyd and the Seattle Storm agreed to a contract extension after Loyd’s historic season that will pay her the maximum allowable salary for a veteran extension. Loyd will make the supermax in 2024 ($241,984) and will make slightly less than the supermax in 2025 ($249,032) as she is limited to a raise equal to 3% of her 2023 salary ($7,048).

Playing 38 games for the Storm, she scored 939 points which is a new WNBA single-season record. Loyd is one of three players to surpass the record set by Diana Taurasi with 860 points across 34 games in 2006. Loyd finished with a scoring average of 24.71, which trails only that 2006 season from Taurasi, who averaged 25.29 points per game.

With the departure of her teammates Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart following the 2023 season, Loyd has taken on a more prominent leadership role in addition to her scoring responsibilities. In addition to Loyd’s league-leading 24.7 points per game, she also maintained averages of 4.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game.

Loyd joined the Seattle Storm as a No. 1 pick in the 2015 WNBA Draft out of Notre Dame and won two championships in 2018 and 2020.

“It’s been special for Seattle to witness Jewell compete for championships and rise to be one of the best in the game. She is a franchise player, and we are excited to continue to build our future around her,” Seattle Storm President and CEO Alisha Valavanis said in a team press release. “She is a remarkable person and leader, she lifts her teammates, the organization, and her community. Everyone around Jewell knows she embodies greatness. We’re so glad she’s staying in Seattle.”

Despite the Storm missing the playoffs for the first time since 2015, Loyd’s scoring ability solidifies her place in Seattle.

Kahleah Copper signs a last-minute extension with Sky

Copper, who led the Chicago Sky to its first-ever WNBA Championship and won the Finals MVP in 2021, has agreed to a multi-year, supermax contract extension on the day of the deadline.

Like Loyd’s extension in Seattle, Copper received the maximum allowed salary she was allowed via extension, receiving the supermax of $241,984 in 2024 followed by a raise that is limited to 3% of her 2023 salary ($6,150) bringing her 2025 salary to $248,134.

Copper averaged a career-high 18.7 points per game to go along with 4.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game in 38 games played for the Sky this season. On Friday, Copper led the Sky to a playoff berth for the fifth consecutive season, a franchise record, with a victory over the Minnesota Lynx. She scored 20 points, grabbed four rebounds, and dished out five assists.

Copper was traded to the Sky as a part of the return for Elena Delle Donne from Washington in 2017. Since then, the three-time WNBA All-Star has been a cornerstone player for the franchise.

“We are thrilled Kahleah has decided to stay in Chicago, after winning a championship here and bringing so much success to Chicago,” Chicago Sky owner Michael Alter said in a team press release Sunday. “We know Kahleah’s skill, leadership, drive, competitive spirit, passion, and energy will help fuel a winning culture in Chicago for years to come.”

The Chicago Sky will travel to Las Vegas to face the Aces in the first round of the playoffs beginning Wednesday.

Written by Aya Abdeen

Aya Abdeen is a student in sports journalism at Arizona State University and has been a contributing writer for The Next since December 2022. She is also a sports reporter for the Sun Devils’ women’s basketball team for The State Press. Her work has also appeared on AZPreps365.

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