Superteams Finding their Way into the WNBA


Every team wants to be the first one to build the “superteam”. (Courtesy of Instagram)

News broke a little over a week ago that sent shockwaves through the WNBA: the 2021 MVP Jonquel Jones was leaving the long dominant Connecticut Sun and joining the New York Liberty. The trade included three teams: Connecticut, New York and Dallas. New York received Jones from the Sun and Kayla Thornton from the Dallas Wings. Dallas received Natasha Howard and the rights to Crystal Dangerfield, both from the Liberty. Lastly, the Sun received Rebecca Allen and the sixth overall pick in this year’s draft from New York along with Ty Harris from Dallas. Through this trade, the Liberty somehow managed to shed the salary cap to free up space to sign another big star in their pursuit of a title.

There’s been a lot of buzz around where WNBA superstar Breanna Stewart will go in free agency. Well, it seems the cap space freed to acquire Jones will be incredibly beneficial as it was just announced Stewart is down to two options. She’s either going to stay in Seattle where she’s spent her entire six-year career, or follow Jones to Brooklyn to play for the New York Liberty. The prospect of a starting lineup including Sabrina Ionescu, Jones and Stewart is becoming increasingly likely, which would complete a big three that could compete with any team in the league.

However, the Liberty aren’t the only team trying to accumulate a superteam. The reigning WNBA champions, the Las Vegas Aces, gained a huge pickup in the form of legend Candace Parker. The decision came as a bit of a surprise as Parker had made her home in Chicago for the past two seasons, but she stated her main reason for making the switch was family. “I need to be there for my daughter, for my son, for my wife. I can’t be without them for parts of the season when Lailaa is in school, and I won’t miss her volleyball games or school dances simply because of distance. Lailaa starts high school in August and I need to be there for her, just as she’s been there for me,” said Parker.
Parker will be joining an already stacked Aces team with 2022 MVP A’ja Wilson, Kelsey Plum, Chelsea Gray and Jackie Young, finishing out a starting five that may be the strongest we’ve seen in WNBA history. Last season, these five players alone averaged 82.3 points per game, so it’s clear the outlook of next season is somehow brighter for the defending champs.

However with these free agency moves has come controversy. Some have argued that superteams ruin leagues and make them less competitive. While we’ve seen this with teams like the 2010 Miami Heat and 2016 Golden State Warriors of the NBA, it hasn’t truly been seen of a team in the WNBA acquiring a superteam to this extent and frequency. While the entertainment factor of seeing stars play together will be a positive, it’s definitely worth considering how this can affect competitiveness in the league.

Even if Stewart stays in Seattle, the Liberty have put themselves into the championship-contender category. While New York lost Howard in this trade, they have upgraded the exact position with Jones. Jonathan Kolb, the Liberty’s general manager, has performed a masterclass of an offseason managing to significantly upgrade their roster while simultaneously cutting down on salary cap money.

Fans of the WNBA are sure to be in store for a season like they’ve never seen before. There are still some dominos that are yet to fall with Stewart, Courtney Vandersloot, Nneka Ogwumike among others that have yet to have decide on a team, but regardless the anticipation has officially begun for the 2023-24 WNBA season.