2021 WNBA Free Agency List

Details of who might be on the move for next season, and their current status

Thanks for reading the Her Hoop Stats Newsletter. If you like our work, be sure to check out our stats site, our podcast, and our social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. You can also buy Her Hoop Stats gear, such as laptop stickers, mugs, and shirts!

Haven’t subscribed to the Her Hoop Stats Newsletter yet?

With the 2020 season complete for eight of the twelve WNBA teams, many franchises and fans are already thinking about the future. The WNBA releases an official list of free agents in mid-January each year just as the negotiation period begins on January 15. They wait until that date because teams are required to make qualifying offers from January 1 to January 14 in order to make players restricted or reserved (terms explained below). However, the likely status of every player is already in place, as almost all who are eligible will receive qualifying offers and the status of those who are set to become unrestricted free agents won’t change.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled our understanding of who will be in the various categories of free agents when free agency finally arrives. Our hope is that this document can serve as a reference for the women’s basketball community until the official list is released.

All the information in this article has been carefully gathered and checked through multiple league sources, but please bear in mind that it's very easy for a mistake to be made in a long list like this or a name to slip through the cracks. In particular, players signed under hardship exceptions do not become reserved (they would instead become unrestricted free agents), but it’s often difficult to ascertain whether teams used exceptions to sign players late in the season. If you have any issues or corrections, please contact us at Her Hoop Stats or @RichardCohen1.

The WNBA players that are free agents and/or out-of-contract heading into the 2021 season essentially fall into four categories: Unrestricted Free Agent, Restricted Free Agent, Reserved Player, and Suspended - Contract Expired. 

  • Unrestricted Free Agent (UFA): Players who have just completed a contract need a minimum of five years of service in the WNBA to gain this status. Players can also become a UFA if they are cut by a team and pass through waivers without being claimed. UFAs are free to discuss terms and sign a contract with any team of their choice.

  • Restricted Free Agent (RFA): This applies to players with four years of service in the WNBA. Most commonly, players fall into this category when they have just completed their rookie scale contract. They can talk to and sign with any team they like, but their previous team has the “right of first refusal” to match any deal they sign with another team and thereby retain the player.

  • Reserved Player: If a player is out of contract but has three or fewer years of service in the WNBA, they become “reserved”. That means that they can only negotiate with their previous team and are not allowed to discuss terms or sign with anyone else (unless released).

  • Suspended - Contract Expired: This is a rarely discussed situation, but significantly more common this season. If a player's contract expires while they are suspended, they do not fall into any of the three categories above. Because they are deemed to have been “withholding services” (in CBA terms), their previous team retains their rights and the player is not allowed to talk to or sign with other teams. In practice, it’s very similar to the reserved player status above, although no qualifying offer is required. This year, this group includes players who opted-out if they did not receive a medical exemption from the league. However, if the player did receive an exemption and they were in the final year of their contract, they will become a UFA, RFA, or reserved player as applicable.

In order to make a player restricted or reserved, their previous team has to send out the relevant qualifying offer sometime from January 1 to January 14. If they don't, the player becomes an unrestricted free agent. Players can then talk to teams from January 15 onwards and begin signing on February 1.

Additionally, each team has one core designation that can be used to prevent UFAs from becoming true free agents. Tina Charles and Candice Dupree have now reached the maximum of three cored seasons, so therefore cannot be cored again. Any other UFA or RFA could be, except that Phoenix's core tag is currently attached to Brittney Griner and therefore not available to be used on anyone else (unless Griner is traded, waived, or retires). The tag comes with an automatic one year supermax offer (although the team and player are free to negotiate something different) while blocking the player from negotiating with any other team. Those tags also have to be applied between January 1 and January 14.

Unrestricted Free Agents

Free to sign with any team 

Achonwa, Natalie (IND)  

Alexander, Kayla (MIN)

Augustus, Seimone (LAS)

Bentley, Alex

Bird, Sue (SEA)

Breland, Jessica (PHO)

Cambage, Liz (LVA)

Carson, Essence (CON)

Charles, Tina (WAS)

Christmas-Kelly, Karima

Clark, Alysha (SEA)

Colson, Sydney (CHI)

Dupree, Candice (IND)

Gray, Chelsea (LAS)

Hawkins, Tianna (WAS)

Holmes, Bria (CON)

Howard, Natasha (SEA)

Huff, Megan

Johnson, Glory (ATL)

Johnson, Shenise (MIN)

Jones, Alexis

Laney, Betnijah (ATL)

Lavender, Jantel (IND)

McBride, Kayla (LVA)

Meesseman, Emma (WAS)

Mosqueda-Lewis, Kaleena (CON)

Ogwumike, Nneka (LAS)

Parker, Candace (LAS)

Parker, Cheyenne (CHI)

Plaisance, Theresa (CON)

Powers, Aerial (WAS)

Prince, Epiphanny (SEA)

Robinson, Danielle (LVA)

Rodgers, Sugar (LVA)

Swords, Carolyn (LVA)

Taurasi, Diana (PHO)

Thomas, Alyssa (CON)

Thomas, Jasmine (CON)

Vaughn, Kia (PHO)

Warley-Talbert, Avery

Wheeler, Erica (IND)

Williams, Riquna (LAS)

Zahui B, Amanda (NYL)

Restricted Free Agents

Current team can match contract signed with another team

Burdick, Cierra (LVA)    

Coffey, Nia (PHO)   

Davis, Kaela (ATL)   

Dietrick, Blake (ATL)  

Gray, Allisha (DAL)

Gray, Reshanda (LAS)

Jones, Brionna (CON)

McCall, Erica (MIN)

Sykes, Brittney (LAS)

Walker-Kimbrough, Shatori (PHO)

Whitcomb, Sami (SEA)

Reserved Players

Can only negotiate with current team

Agnew, Jaylyn (ATL)

Allen, Lindsay (LVA)

Cannon, Emma (LVA)

Carleton, Bridget (MIN)

Coates, Alaina (WAS)

Cooper, Te'a (LAS)

Fagbenle, Temi (MIN)

Gemelos, Jacki (WAS)

Hiedeman, Natisha (CON)

Holmes, Joyner (NYL)

Johnson, Stella (WAS)

Kea, Paris (NYL)

Mompremier, Beatrice (CON)

Peddy, Shey (PHO)

Prince, Alexis (CHI)

Sutton, Sug (WAS)

“Suspended - Contract Expired” Players

Can only negotiate with current team

Allen, Rebecca (NYL)

Cloud, Natasha (WAS)

Hatar, Bernadett (IND)

Kang, Lee-seul (WAS)

Montgomery, Renee (ATL)

Moore, Maya (MIN)

Ogwumike, Chiney (LAS)

Sanders, LaToya (WAS)

Talbot, Stephanie (NYL)

Turner, Yvonne (PHO)

Zandalasini, Cecilia (MIN)

Thanks for reading the Her Hoop Stats Newsletter. If you like our work, be sure to check out our stats site, our podcast, and our social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.