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2022 WNBA Post-Free Agency Roster Situations
We break down where all 12 teams stand heading into the draft, now that all the major free agency moves are in the books
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While there are still a few players out there who’ll be hoping to catch on, 2022 WNBA free agency is largely complete. Most remaining signings will be training camp deals for players who’ll have to impress quickly to have any chance of displacing existing players to make a team. As eyes begin to turn to the upcoming draft and players that could be added there, below we take a team-by-team look at where everyone stands, which players are likely to stick, and who faces a fight in camp to hold on to their spot.
As always, you can find full roster and contract details for every team at our Her Hoop Stats cap sheets. We’re just here to do some of the math for you and to try to explain what it all means.
PG: Erica Wheeler/Aari McDonald
SG: Tiffany Hayes
SF: Nia Coffey/Megan Walker
PF: Monique Billings
C: Cheyenne Parker/Kia Vaughn
Also under contract: Jaylyn Agnew, Maya Caldwell, Khaalia Hillsman, N'dea Jones, Kristy Wallace
2022 draft picks: No. 3 overall, two early second-rounders
Likely roster size to start the season: 12
We're starting off with the team that still has the most to work out. The Dream came into the offseason with swaths of cap space but restrained themselves from going crazy. Notably, everything they've added besides Megan Walker's team-option year (they have until May 15 to decide whether or not to exercise that), is a one-year deal. Everything from Tiffany Hayes and Monique Billings re-signing, to the flyer on Nia Coffey building on a decent 2021 in LA, to the Erica Wheeler addition from the Chennedy Carter trade - they all expire at the end of 2022. So they may not be great in their first year under new GM Dan Padover and new head coach Tanisha Wright, but they're set up to dive back into free agency in a year's time and potentially make a big splash.
In terms of this year, they're set up to be one of the few teams who can start the season with 12 players. There won't be too much space left over if they do that, but barring any further veteran signings they can keep essentially whoever they want in the 12. It's a good training camp for a player to find their way into because some relative unknowns are probably going to fill out the end of the bench, and the No. 14 and No. 15 picks in the draft will have a decent chance to stick as well if they impress in camp.
PG: Courtney Vandersloot/Julie Allemand/Dana Evans
SG: Allie Quigley
SF: Kahleah Copper
PF: Azura Stevens/Emma Meesseman
C: Candace Parker/Ruthy Hebard
Also under contract: Kathleen Doyle, Rebekah Gardner, Kysre Gondrezick, Tina Krajišnik, Kamiah Smalls
Unsigned qualifying offers: Lexie Brown
2022 draft picks: None
Likely roster size to start the season: Definite 11
It took them a while, but finally everyone who was expected to sign for the Sky is under contract. Most of them only for one more year, so there could be significant upheaval when free agency rolls around again, but 2022 is largely in place.
They even managed to sign Vandersloot, Copper, Meesseman and Quigley for slightly less in total than might've been expected. However, even after the recent unexpected waiving of Crystal Bradford and her $62,000 contract the Sky don’t have quite enough for a veteran minimum to fit in their 11th roster spot if the 9 listed on the main roster above all stick, plus one of their base minimum training camp signings. That hypothetical 10 would leave $71,695 in cap space, and the veteran minimum is $72,141. So, for example, Lexie Brown wouldn’t fit even at her minimum salary. They’re $446 short. Brown could make the team instead of Dana Evans, with the final spot going to someone on the lower minimum of $60,471, but Brown (or some other veteran) can't just slide into the current hole. As I explained here, while Brown’s qualifying offer has expired, Chicago’s rights to her continue in exactly the same way. As a restricted free agent, if she can find another team willing to give her any kind of offer sheet, the Sky aren't in a position to match it without waiving one of Hebard, Evans or Allemand. If the offer was anything above about $85,000 in the first year, they couldn’t match it even by doing that.
PG: Jasmine Thomas/Natisha Hiedeman
SG: Courtney Williams/DiJonai Carrington
SF: DeWanna Bonner/Kaila Charles
PF: Alyssa Thomas
C: Jonquel Jones/Brionna Jones
Also under contract: Yvonne Anderson, Taja Cole, Joyner Holmes, Stephanie Jones, Beatrice Mompremier
2022 draft picks: No. 12 pick in each round
Likely roster size to start the season: Absolutely 11
Fitting everyone in this offseason was always going to be awkward for Connecticut, who were fortunate that Jonquel Jones was willing to take a little less than she might've demanded and that Courtney Williams fell in their laps at a significantly lower figure than she was making in Atlanta. However, everything is still a little bit complicated. If the nine players listed on the main roster above all make the team, they'd have $125,343 left for two players. That's enough for two minimum deals, but notably not enough for one minimum plus their first-round pick (whose rookie scale deal would be $66,306 in its first year, rather than the base minimum of $60,471).
So someone from the group of No. 12, Hiedeman, Charles and Carrington isn't making the opening day roster. Maybe they look to draft someone international who won't show up in 2022 to keep things simple, or maybe that rookie simply has to come into camp knowing they have to beat out an incumbent in order to stick.
PG: Moriah Jefferson/Tyasha Harris
SG: Arike Ogunbowale/Marina Mabrey/Chelsea Dungee
SF: Allisha Gray/Kayla Thornton
PF: Satou Sabally/Isabelle Harrison
C: Teaira McCowan/Charli Collier/Bella Alarie/Awak Kuier
Also under contract: Morgan Bertsch, Unique Thompson, Destinee Walker
2022 draft picks: No. 7 overall, and a couple of third-rounders
Likely roster size to start the season: 12
Until the last week, Dallas had produced one of the quietest free agency periods in league history. They'd done literally nothing outside of signing Ogunbowale to a supermax extension. Then finally a few minor signings were made as a prelude to the multi-piece trade for Teaira McCowan from Indiana. It's a move that made sense for the Wings given their issues defensively and at center in recent years, but it sent out exactly the same number of pieces as it brought back, so it did nothing to deal with their roster crunch. They have 13 players under regular contracts, plus the No. 7 pick, and you can only keep 12.
Chelsea Dungee looks the most likely cut after an invisible rookie season and problems sticking with multiple overseas teams this offseason, while the second is anyone's guess. The only guaranteed money in 2022 belongs to Jefferson, Gray, Harrison and Thornton, but the Wings have enough cap space that even one of them could be cut while still keeping 12. A buyout for Jefferson saving them a little money also seems plausible, and they'll likely ask around about more trades, but it's yet another offseason where Dallas have stayed very young and are running out of roster spots to keep everyone.
As a side-note, they're the only team so far to exercise the 4th-year option on rookies from the 2020 draft class - the first group drafted under the new CBA, where those option years immediately become guaranteed money once taken up (although will not count toward the maximum of six protected contracts). So they could cut Satou Sabally, Bella Alarie or Tyasha Harris and it would cost them nothing this year, but their guaranteed 2023 money would still be on the books in permanent ink.
PG: Bria Hartley/Danielle Robinson
SG: Kelsey Mitchell/Jazmine Jones
SF: Tiffany Mitchell
PF: Emma Cannon
C: Jantel Lavender
Also under contract: Lindsay Allen, Alaina Coates, Haley Gorecki, Micaela Kelly, Chelsey Perry, Alanna Smith, Victoria Vivians
2022 draft picks: No. 2 overall, No. 4 overall, No. 6 overall, No. 10 overall, a second-rounder and two third-rounders
Likely roster size to start the season: 12
For a team that added no one in free agency outside of a raft of training camp contracts, it's been a surprisingly eventful offseason for Indiana. General manager Tamika Catchings stepped down, handing the reins back to former Fever head coach Lin Dunn. The major moves since then were dumping yet more first-round picks from the Catchings era, with Aaliyah Wilson waived and then Teaira McCowan traded to Dallas for a variety of draft pick compensation.
It leaves the cupboard pretty bare, with enough roster and cap room to actually keep all four of their 2022 first-round picks. If they retained the seven players listed on the roster above, plus the four first-rounders, they'd have $74,761 remaining - enough to keep any of the training camp signees in the 12th spot. Essentially it'll be a wide open camp (although unless several players are arriving late they'll have to cut a few before it even begins due to the 15-player limit on practicing players). They can't keep absolutely whoever they want - a vet beating out the No. 10 pick, for example, wouldn't leave enough cap room for another vet to fill that 12th spot - but it's pretty close.
PG: Chelsea Gray/Kelsey Plum/Destiny Slocum
SG: Riquna Williams
SF: Jackie Young
PF: Dearica Hamby
C: A'ja Wilson/Kiah Stokes
Also under contract: Kalani Brown, Sydney Colson, Theresa Plaisance
Unsigned qualifying offers: JiSu Park
2022 draft picks: No. 11 pick in each round
Likely roster size to start the season: Potentially 12, but maybe 11
At time of writing, the Aces have 11 players under contract. In theory, that could simply be the opening-day roster, and they'd have $52,278 left to sign a twelfth player at some point during the season once a prorated minimum salary fits in the space. In practice that seems unlikely, especially as the current group includes at least three centers and three point guards (arguably four of each, depending on your definitions).
The No. 11 pick will presumably have a strong chance to beat out one of the existing group, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see them pick up some kind of wing either from among the remaining free agents or players that are cut by other teams during camp. They could also make room for a 12-player roster if they wanted to. If the eight listed above on the main roster stick, plus the No. 11 and one of the training camp players, they'd have 10 players signed for $1,248,946. That would leave $130,254 in cap space. That's not enough for two veteran minimum contracts like those Brown, Colson and Plaisance are on, but it is enough for two base minimums (players with 0-2 years of service in the WNBA) or their later-round picks in the draft. The Aces could also offer anything up to that 130k to a single free agent, but the list of players remaining on the market doesn't throw up many names that seem worth that move. At this point, they seem likely to save their money for opportunities that could come along down the line, possibly while retaining that extra player.
PG: Kristi Toliver/Jordin Canada/Te'a Cooper
SG: Chennedy Carter/Arella Guirantes
SF: Brittney Sykes/Katie Lou Samuelson
PF: Nneka Ogwumike/Jasmine Walker
C: Liz Cambage/Amanda Zahui B/Chiney Ogwumike
Also under contract: Lauren Cox
2020 draft picks: No. 9 overall, two second-rounders, one third-rounder
Likely roster size to start the season: 12, surprisingly
From a difficult position (which they'd painted themselves into with moves in previous years), the Sparks took a couple of gambles that have at least made them significantly more interesting for 2022. They've also managed to set themselves up to keep 12 players, although it won't necessarily be the 12 listed on the roster above. Guirantes and Walker look vulnerable if someone else were to excel in camp, and even Te'a Cooper may be looking over her shoulder after the addition of two ballhandling guards in Chennedy Carter and Jordin Canada.
Exactly why they were so apparently insistent on keeping 12 is one of the quietly curious elements of 2022 free agency. Every other veteran player that took a discount around the league did so in order to let their team fit in top-end players, or at least other veterans, or so that their team could squeeze in the required 11 players under the cap. Liz Cambage accepted $170,000 so that the Sparks could keep 12 rather than 11, something virtually no other contender is worrying about. Maybe that was LA's line in the sand when bringing her in, and they're just that invested in the players on the end of their bench; maybe Liz was just that keen to come to LA that she was happy to make concessions from the start. It's just a little odd, that's all.
In terms of the final roster construction, there aren't huge constraints on which 12 they keep. Barring a retirement or a very team-friendly buyout, none of the guaranteed deals - Toliver, Cambage, Zahui B, Canada and both Ogwumikes - are going anywhere, but any of the others could theoretically be kept or cut. The No. 9 pick would obviously have to displace one of the 12 listed above, as would Lauren Cox.
PG: Layshia Clarendon/Crystal Dangerfield
SG: Aerial Powers
SF: Kayla McBride/Angel McCoughtry/Rennia Davis
PF: (Napheesa Collier)/Damiris Dantas/Jessica Shepard
C: Sylvia Fowles/Natalie Achonwa
Also under contract: Rachel Banham, Bridget Carleton, Natasha Mack, Yvonne Turner
2022 draft picks: No. 8 overall, two second-rounders (including No. 13 overall) and a third-rounder
Likely roster size to start the season: Barring an Achonwa trade, 11
As I've been repeating for a while, the Lynx are complicated. At present, they do not have the room to keep 12 players. You cannot suspend a pregnant player to create cap room. They could move Napheesa Collier to the Pregnancy/Childbirth list, but all that does is create a free roster spot - the salary continues to be paid and continues to count on the cap. Therefore there's currently no point in even moving her there, because they don't have the cap room to fill the roster spot it would open up.
So they could keep the 11 listed in the roster above, but that would mean cutting Bridget Carleton (who started 10 games and averaged nearly 20 minutes per game for the Lynx last season), franchise favourite Rachel Banham, and both the No. 8 and No. 13 picks in the upcoming draft. Maybe they're willing to let all these players come into camp and fight it out to make the 11. Both Davis and Shepard could be vulnerable if that's the plan. The other primary possibility is a trade, with Natalie Achonwa looking the most likely of the guaranteed deals to be sacrificed. Removing her $160,000 contract would allow Minnesota to keep 12, so would actually open room for two other players to stick (assuming no one was coming back in the deal). There's also the possibility that they look to select someone from overseas in the draft who'll agree not to show up in 2022, which would at least save one of the cuts.
This remains the team where it looks most likely that we're still waiting on a move. The question is why it hasn't happened yet if it's ever going to happen.
PG: Sabrina Ionescu
SG: Sami Whitcomb/DiDi Richards/Asia Durr
SF: Betnijah Laney/Michaela Onyenwere/Rebecca Allen
PF: Natasha Howard/Jocelyn Willoughby
C: Stefanie Dolson/Kylee Shook/Han Xu
Also under contract: Paris Kea
2022 draft picks: No. 5 overall and a third-rounder
Likely roster size to start the season: 12
After years of drafting multiple youngsters and overstocked rosters that complicated the process of building to a final 12, New York are finally starting to look a little more traditional. The 12 listed above are there because those are the ones currently under regular contracts to the Liberty, rather than because they're likely to make up the final roster. Whether Asia Durr will be ready to play basketball again still seems unclear after their battle with long Covid, and after two missed seasons (and in a World Cup year) it wouldn't be a surprise to see Han Xu be suspended for the year yet again.
A cut or suspension would open up room for the No. 5 pick, Paris Kea, an as yet unsigned free agent or Marine Johannès, whose rights the Liberty still hold and who has shown interest in returning to the WNBA. New York have the room to keep 12 players to start the season, but the complications with Durr and Han mean the moves to open the required roster spots may not happen for quite a while. Johannès’s season in France is also likely to extend beyond the start of the WNBA regular season, so even if she’s intending to head for the US once available, they may not actually sign her to a contract until she arrives.
PG: Skylar Diggins-Smith
SG: Diana Taurasi(/Kia Nurse)
SF: Diamond DeShields/Sophie Cunningham
PF: Tina Charles
C: Brittney Griner/Brianna Turner
Also under contract: Leaonna Odom, Shey Peddy, Jennie Simms, Kiana Williams
2022 draft picks: Two third-rounders
Likely roster size to start the season: 11
Obviously, right now the Mercury family has a lot more on their minds than basketball. Everyone wants to see Brittney Griner safe and home, and that's the priority. But if you're reading this you're here for WNBA roster analysis, so that's how we're going to approach this section. Ultimately, Phoenix managed to do more this offseason than initially looked possible, adding Tina Charles and Diamond DeShields while bringing back Sophie Cunningham (and Kia Nurse, although her injury may prevent her from playing in 2022).
Charles accepting such a low salary figure - $108,000 - has left multiple options for their final three spots. They have $216,623 remaining, which is just enough to fit three veteran minimums. However, if they kept one vet on that figure (Shey Peddy, for example), and one player on the lower minimum (Odom, Simms or Williams), they'd have $84,011 left for their 11th spot. There aren't many obvious names left on the free agent market - and from the current roster construction they'd surely be looking for a post of some kind, which narrows the options even further - but that tick above the veteran minimum that they could offer might help attract whoever they would want. Or they sign someone else on the minimum, retain that extra scrap of space, and potentially add a 12th player with a month or so left in the regular season.
All of the analysis above was originally written before the Griner situation in Russia emerged, but in pure roster implications it likely doesn't change much - except that an extra post becomes even more of a necessity. There seems little chance that they'd suspend Griner, and even if they did there's no one on the market worth spending the cap space on. Let's hope she's back in the US soon and this all becomes moot.
PG: Sue Bird/Briann January
SG: Jewell Loyd/Epiphanny Prince
SF: Gabby Williams/Kennedy Burke
PF: Breanna Stewart/Mikiah Herbert Harrigan
C: Mercedes Russell/Ezi Magbegor
Also under contract: Lauren Manis, Stephanie Talbot
2022 draft picks: Three second-rounders, one third-rounder
Likely roster size to start the season: Definite 11
It's been an odd offseason for the Storm. There was the slight unsettling uncertainty around Stewart and Loyd and whether they would return, eventually concluded when both re-signed but with a little lingering fear due to Stewart only taking a one-year deal. The additions of Briann January and Gabby Williams via free agency and trade respectively then led to a dawning realization that cap space was running out for Sue Bird, who ultimately signed for the veteran minimum of $72,141. Only the fact that Bird's money is guaranteed prevents it from technically being classed as a 'training camp contract'.
The Storm have $86,048 remaining in cap space if they were to keep the 10 players listed on the roster above, with Steph Talbot currently looking the most likely to occupy the final spot given they no longer have a first-round pick in the draft. They could still create more cap space if they needed it by waiving Epiphanny Prince's non-guaranteed deal, but unless a trade presents itself it doesn't look like there's anyone worth adding that space for. The likes of Burke, Herbert Harrigan and Prince appear potentially vulnerable if Manis, a future signing, or any of the second-round picks excel in training camp.
PG: Natasha Cloud
SG: Ariel Atkins
SF: Alysha Clark
PF: Elena Delle Donne/Myisha Hines-Allen/Erica McCall
C: Elizabeth Williams
Also under contract: Megan Gustafson, Linnae Harper, Tianna Hawkins, MeMe Jackson, Lee-Seul Kang, Rui Machida, Stephanie Mavunga, Shatori Walker-Kimbrough
2022 draft picks: The No. 1 overall pick
Likely roster size to start the season: Yet another definite 11
The Mystics have created a little bit of a jigsaw puzzle with their roster, but simplified things recently by waiving Sydney Wiese and her $82,400 contract. They have six players with guaranteed money - the ones listed on the main roster above, apart from McCall. If we consider those six plus the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 draft as certainties, Washington would have $281,149 left for four players.
That's not enough to keep four players on the veteran minimum. But it is enough for three, as long as the final spot goes to a player on the lower minimum for players with 0-2 years of service in the WNBA. So the Mystics can keep up to three of McCall, Hawkins, Gustafson, Mavunga or Walker-Kimbrough, and must keep at least one of Harper, Jackson, Kang or Machida (or some other player on that lower minimum). Of course, they could also keep more of those cheaper players if they wanted. Essentially, this is going to be a very competitive and interesting training camp. Only those six players on guaranteed deals and the No. 1 pick look locked in to make the team, and it's rare that so many spots appear open to fight for heading into camp.