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.