The 2023 season is in our rear view mirrors.
The Las Vegas Aces have once again prevailed as WNBA champions and there are 11 (currently) other teams that have aspirations of being where the Aces have been the last couple of years.
One notable WNBA event is coming up on December 10 when the WNBA’s draft lottery for its 2024 draft occurs. It will take place between ESPN’s airing of the final two games of its Basketball Hall of Fame Women’s Showcase tripleheader.
In between the airings of Utah vs. South Carolina and North Carolina vs. UConn will be when the draft lottery occurs. This year’s four lottery teams are, once again, the four teams that missed last season’s playoffs – the Indiana Fever, Phoenix Mercury, Seattle Storm and Los Angeles Sparks.
In addition, a number of players – including the New York Liberty’s Nyara Sabally – have already made the transition to their overseas clubs. Not to mention A’ja Wilson being serenaded by Usher and making a guest appearance on Jennifer Hudson’s television show. The M’VP is everywhere as she should be and we are sure that will continue throughout the duration of the offseason.
Without further adieu, here are five offseason storylines to follow between now and the start of the 2024 WNBA campaign.
At this point, we know that Skylar Diggins-Smith and the Phoenix Mercury are not seeing eye to eye – and have not for a while.
Diggins-Smith revealed in a tweet one of the reasons as to why she is not seeing eye to eye with Phoenix’s franchise – the canning of former coach Sandy Brondello – who is now at the helm in New York.
She – along with former Mercury teammate Brittney Griner – are both free agents. We have a bit to go before free agency commences, but there is already plenty of talk as to where Diggins-Smith will call home in 2024. Could it be with the Connecticut Sun? Could it be with the New York Liberty? Could it be with another team? Only time will tell.
Could the Chicago Sky be one of those teams in on the Diggins-Smith sweepstakes?
The Sky have already made a bevy of headlines this offseason. Chicago chose Teresa Weatherspoon to assume duties as its new head coach and now it has chosen Jeff Pagliocca as its new general manager. Pagliocca has spent the past four seasons in player development as well as an advisor to the head coach.
Given the respect Weatherspoon has around the league as a WNBA great and the fact that more money is coming into the organization via Laura Ricketts and Dwyane Wade joining Chicago’s ownership group, the Sky are poised to make plenty a splash when we get to free agency.
When we get closer and closer to May, the word “prioritization” is sure to be on the lips of many a WNBA fan – and player.
Last season was the first time the prioritization clause went into effect. The WNBPA agreed to the clause in the 2020 collective bargaining agreement. Prior to last season, teams had to report to training camp by May 1 or face a fine. Before the start of the 2024 season, players must report to camp by the same day or face a full season suspension.
A few players – such as Breanna Stewart – have already been critical of the prioritization clause and 2024 (especially with it being an Olympic) should make the debate over prioritization all the more heightened.
Will we get more answers as to what the name of the Bay Area’s franchise will be?
The WNBA announced prior to the start of the Finals that the Bay Area team will start play in 2025. The franchise still remains nameless but it was remarked at the announcement that the team name will be revealed “soon.”
For all we know, “soon” could mean the 2025 NBA All-Star Game – which will also be at San Francisco’s Chase Center. Or it could be sooner.
Also…what about Portland? According to an OregonLive report, it appears talks between the W and Kirk Brown (who apparently was spearheading the Portland bid) have fallen through because of uncertainty about a practice facility.
To draft or not to draft?
When we get closer to March Madness, the Angel Reeses, Caitlin Clarks and Paige Bueckers’ of the world have a simple decision – either go into the WNBA or use their COVID years.
Azzi Fudd of UConn has already announced she will return for 2024-25 despite being eligible for the 2024 draft. And Reese made a tweet about playing her “final year” with a few standouts from next year’s freshman class that raised eyebrows.
Before, these were cut and dry decisions, but the allure of pocketing NIL money has completely changed the game in women’s college hoops.