As WNBA fans everywhere know, the reason why so many women’s professional players venture overseas is to make a decent living given the less-than-stellar current state of WNBA salaries. The new CBA that was struck between the league and its WNBPA will hopefully go a long way to fixing that problem.
One of the most well-known Canadian basketball players is Natalie Achonwa, who recently signed with the Minnesota Lynx as a free agent following a stint with the Indiana Fever. She is a backer that the W should work towards a landscape where playing overseas becomes more of a want instead of a need.
According to a CBC article, Achonwa believes there should be a women’s professional developmental league in Canada – similar to the CEBL.
…If you could do your job at a high level and get paid to do it at home, I couldn’t see a negative of that.
–Natalie Achonwa, Minnesota Lynx (CBC Sports)
The CEBL is comprised of players from Canada’s version of the NCAA as well as Canadian players who have played in the NCAA and NBA’s G-League.
Although we’re well represented in the WNBA, if we had those role models, and that inspiration and that sort of reality that it can be done, it would be very important for the sport and for women’s sport in general.
–Glen Grunwald, Canada Basketball president/CEO (CBC Sports)
The article mentions that the massive 68% growth in television audience the WNBA enjoyed in 2020 for its bubble season is a reason why some believe a Canadian league can thrive.
The article also talked about how Achonwa wants “something to happen in Canada” in regards to either a developmental league or WNBA expansion north of the border. There appeared to be an effort two years ago to bring a franchise to Toronto, but that try fizzled out quickly after suspicions about the men behind the effort surfaced.