We take a look at when the stars of the Las Vegas Aces and New York Liberty hit free agency and whether the WNBA superteams can stay intact for years to come.
The dream WNBA Finals matchup between its two superteams ultimately came to fruition in 2023.
The Las Vegas Aces and New York Liberty entered the season with sky-high expectations, with both rosters loaded with perennial All-Stars and former MVPs. It seemed like fate that the two teams would meet in the end. But how long can each team realistically hold on to these rosters before the constraints of the salary cap close their respective windows?
Let’s take a look at the Aces’ and Liberty’s offseasons to see how long they can keep their superteams intact. As with all WNBA teams, both Las Vegas and New York can use one “core” designation per offseason. In that case, a cored player is automatically offered a one-year max contract and the team gets exclusive rights to sign a short or long-term deal with that team. However, a core-designated player can veto any trade before signing a new deal after being cored and players can only be core-designated three times during their careers.
Adding another wrinkle to the equation: The WNBA players will likely opt out of the current CBA after next season and renegotiate. That means the salary cap will jump higher along with max salaries. It’s a major reason why you’re seeing star players signing one- or two-year deals — so they don’t have to be constrained by numbers that will soon be outdated.
Las Vegas Aces
Of the two Finals teams, the Aces are currently better constructed to keep their window open for an extended dynastic run. None of their immediate core pieces hit free agency this offseason. They will, however, need to make decisions on rotation pieces like Kiah Stokes, Sydney Colson, and Jasmine Thomas, along with Candace Parker, who suffered a season-ending foot fracture in July.
However, following the 2024 season, Las Vegas will likely have some decisions to make. Jackie Young, Kelsey Plum, Chelsea Gray, and Alysha Clark are all projected unrestricted free agents, with cap constraints making it unlikely they can hold on to all four key players. At least, as it stands now. A’ja Wilson isn’t a free agent until after the 2025 season, but the Aces will likely have to make changes after next season.
New York Liberty
The Liberty are going to have to make some decisions right away. Both of their key pickups from last offseason, 2023 MVP Breanna Stewart and Jonquel Jones, are unrestricted free agents along with key rotation piece Stef Dolson. Marine Johannes and Jocelyn Willoughby will also be restricted free agents, putting New York’s long-term future in immediate question.
But if the Liberty can hold things together this winter and spring, only Courtney Vandersloot is a free agent following the 2024 season. Sabrina Ionescu, Betnijah Laney, and Kayla Thornton hit the open market after 2025. If New York wants to keep its title window open beyond one season, keeping Stewart and Jones will be critical.
We don’t yet know how long the W’s superteam era will survive with Vegas and New York facing key decisions over the next 18 months and expansion coming in 2025. It’ll be up to the two front offices to ensure their title windows remain open beyond a dream 2023 season for the league.
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