WNBA Free Agency: Day 2 Instant Analysis

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Welcome to Day 2 of WNBA Free Agency. Winsidr will be bringing you all the breaking news over on twitter, on the free agency tracker, and all over the website. Check out all our analysis from Day 1 here. Let’s get analyzing.

The Biggest Deals

DeWanna Bonner sign-and-traded to Connecticut

DeWanna Bonner is off to Connecticut. The superstar agreed to a sign-and-trade from Phoenix to Connecticut, per a release from the Sun. Phoenix is receiving three first-round pick (7th and 11th in 2020, CT’s 2021 first).

We can safely assume that Bonner is getting the four-year supermax contract because she went the sign-and-trade route, rather than merely signing with Connecticut. A player can only get the supermax by agreeing to a contract with her previous team. The deal likely starts at $215,000 in 2020 and could be worth up to $899,480 over four years. #GettheEntireBag DeWanna!

There was a feeling that the Sun had something up their sleeve when they let Layshia Clarendon go and traded Morgan Tuck with the 11th pick in 2020 for the 7th pick (that they just traded). Bonner to Connecticut was a rumor that kept popping up yesterday. According to Winsidr’s Rachel Galligan, Bonner’s decision came down to Dallas and Connecticut. I’m guessing Bonner for Skylar Diggins-Smith was discussed but it fell through as DeWanna decided she wanted to go Connecticut.

On the court, do I need to explain to you how great this move is for Connecticut? DeWanna Bonner has gone from sixth women of the year for 3 years straight (2009-2011) to a full blown superstar making the All-Star team in the previous two seasons.

She can do a little bit of everything for this team with her speed and length. Bonner will slot into Sheekina Stricklen’s spot in the starting lineup as Stricklen is likely on the way out. Subbing Bonner for Stricklen makes this Connecticut defense stronger, even though Bonner isn’t necessarily a stopper. She can switch and won’t need to be hidden on a shooter like Stricklen.

Bonner is excellent both on and off ball, especially as a spot up threat. I’m slightly concerned about the the Sun’s spacing as Bonner struggles from three-point range. But Jonquel Jones can help the spacing (and save her body a bit) by moving out to the three-point line. At the very least, Bonner is a willing shooter and that makes defenses pay attention to her.

The cap situation for Connecticut now becomes very interesting. With cap holds, the Sun currently have $230,500 in cap space. Assuming Courtney Williams gets the max, Connecticut’s cap space dwindles to $113,500 with 8 players under contract and minimum cap holds for Bria Holmes and Rachel Banham.

Basically, the Sun have a few options. They can have 12 players on roster and use their final 4 roster spots on young players close to the $57,000 minimum. The Sun could also have 11 players on roster and use the final 3 roster spots on either one large contract (near $100k) with two vet minimum deals or just three players making near $80,000. Those last few roster spots may not seem too important, but the Sun really needed some of their end of the bench talent last year.  Plus, Connecticut having to go with just 11 players eliminates one player from the WNBA. A sad side effect of superteams and salary growth outpacing cap growth in the new CBA.

Obviously, this is a huge bummer for the Phoenix Mercury. With Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi, they are in win-now mode especially with Taurasi getting up there in age. They did well to get a lot of draft assets leaving anyways, but rookies don’t typically help win playoff games. I imagine they will try to flip those picks in a trade for a veteran that can help.

Elena Delle Donne re-signs with Washington

Elena Delle Donne is officially returning to D.C. in what had to be the easiest negotiation ever. “Here is all the money and years we can give you, please stay forever, we are working on a statue,”~Coach Mike Thibault, probably. According to Ava Wallace of the Washington Post, the deal is for four years. Coach T actually broke this news a couple of weeks ago on the Winsidr Show.

Mystics Free Agency Update: Emma Meesseman and Elena Delle Donne are coming back

I talked about the effect of her and Emma Meesseman’s return in the article. Meesseman’s deal isn’t official yet but Coach T said she is coming back to DC in 2020. Assuming that EDD gets the full supermax (starting at $215k in 2020, $899k over four years), the Mystics have $460,600 in cap space with 9 players on roster and 3 protected contracts (including EDD). Factoring in Emma getting the same deal, Washington’s cap space decreases to $245,600 and they would have two roster spots to fill.

With that cap space and the 12th overall pick, the Mystics have to find someone to help fill the void left by Kristi Toliver while allowing them to maintain their core players over the next few years. Leilani Mitchell would be my first choice if she isn’t too pricey.

Other Deals

Tierra Ruffin-Pratt re-signs with the Sparks

TRP is coming back to LA, the team announced today. We don’t have terms yet, but it seems like a one year deal because the team did not announce it as multiple years. It’s unclear for now.

But still, I love this move for the Sparks. They have so much depth and versatility at every single position. TRP brings strong defense at either the 2 or the 3. She isn’t much of an offensive threat but luckily this team has the Ogwumike sisters, Candace Parker, Chelsea Grey (who will re-sign soon), and Kristi Toliver.

TRP did show a willingness to shoot threes last season by taking the most in her career. She made them at a decent clip as well. If she can gain confidence from behind the arc, she’ll have an even bigger role on this team. For now, she’s an excellent depth piece for a very deep and very scary roster.

Isabelle Harrison signs long-term in Dallas

Restricted Free Agent Isabelle Harrison is back in Dallas on a multi-year deal, per a release from the team. She started 29 games for the Wings last year after coming over from Vegas in the Liz Cambage trade.

Harrison gave the Wings solid but not great play on both ends of the floor. She had the worst shooting season of her career (like pretty much all of the Wings). But she provided strong defense and showed flashes of being an effective rebounder. The Dallas center rotation is mighty crowded with Harrison, Azura Stevens, Kristine Anigwe, Megan Gustafson, and Imani McGee-Stafford all signed. Harrison, Stevens, and Gustafson can all play power forward as well but less effectively. I wouldn’t be surprised if one or more of those players are moved soon or released after training camp.

According to Bela Kirpalani of High Post Hoops, the deal is for 3 years starting at $150,000. I wish I could tell you if this is a good deal or a bad deal. But after seeing the figures going around so far, I’m genuinely not sure what the market is for players like Izzy. What I can tell you is Isabelle Harrison is part of the current long-term plan in Dallas.

Her three-year deal lines up Moriah Jefferson new deal and Arike Ogunbowale’s rookie deal as well as Megan Gustafson. The Wings want this group to grow together and rebuild in the process. Her contract is not protected so she could be cut at any time. But for now, she’s getting a big pay that she will have to prove herself worthy of.

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