Mystics Free Agents
WNBA free agency has begun and the defending champs, the Washington Mystics, have some big decisions to make regarding their roster.
Entering day one of free agency, the Mystics have six unrestricted free agents: 2019 Regular Season MVP Elena Delle Donne, 2019 Postseason MVP Emma Meesseman, Tianna Hawkins, Aerial Powers, Kim Mestdagh, and Shey Peddy. Delle Donne has already re-signed and it’s highly likely that Washington will retain Meesseman and Powers.
Kristi Toliver, the lone Mystic not returning, signed with the Los Angeles Sparks. During Toliver’s three years in DC, she averaged close to 13 points per game, shooting 44-percent from the floor, 35-percent from three-point range, and 88-percent from the line. In addition to her scoring, Kristi contributed around 5 assists, 2 rebounds, and 1 steal per game. In 23 playoff games, she averaged 15 points per game and had a free throw percentage of 91.
When Kristi Toliver signed with the Mystics in 2017, her goal in coming home was to be a leader to a core of young players. Toliver also wanted to instill a championship culture and bring Washington its first WNBA Championship. During her career in DC, she led the Mystics to three playoff appearances, two finals appearances, and that coveted championship. For Kristi’s DC goals, consider all three boxes checked.
She will continue to serve as a Wizards assistant coach during the NBA season.
WNBA Player Movement: Free Agency Day One
The first day of free agency allows teams to finalize deals, sign contracts, and offer sheets for restricted free agents. A few teams capitalized and made moves that will solidify their roster or help them continue to make the championship push.
The runners-up of the 2019 WNBA Championship, the Connecticut Sun, made two moves on day one of free agency. First, they re-signed their star, Jonquel Jones. Jones was a monster during the 2019 Playoffs, averaging 18 points and 10 rebounds per game. Connecticut also traded Morgan Tuck, the 3rd pick in the 2016 Draft, to the Seattle Storm for the 7th pick in the 2020 Draft.
The Las Vegas Aces, who the Mystics defeated in the semi-finals of last year’s playoff run, signed Angel McCoughtry. McCoughtry has been a highly decorated player during her time in the WNBA. McCoughtry, drafted number one overall in 2009 by the Atlanta Dream, led them to the playoffs eight times, including three finals appearances. She was also a five-time All-Star, two-time scoring champion, and made the All-Defense team seven times. McCoughtry is coming off an ACL injury that cost her the 2019 season.
Sue Bird, a 17-year WNBA veteran and a three-time champion, has informed the Seattle Storm that she will return for the 2020 season. Seattle, who beat the Mystics in the 2018 WNBA Finals, will return a healthy Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart.
A move that won’t get talked about much but could pay big dividends was made by the New York Liberty. The Liberty signed Layshia Clarendon, formerly of the Connecticut Sun. Clarendon, an All-Star in 2017 and member of the US National team, joins a New York team that has the number one pick in this year’s draft (projected to be Oregon superstar, Sabrina Ionescu).
Free Agents to Keep An Eye Out For
Restricted free agents (highlighted teams can match salaries):
- Rachel Banham, Bria Holmes, Courtney Williams (Connecticut Sun)
- Liz Cambage (Las Vegas Aces)
Key unrestricted free agent or free agents (free to sign anywhere) by former team:
- Alex Bentley (Atlanta Dream)
- Allie Quigley and Stefanie Dolson (Chicago Sky)
- Shekinna Stricklen (Connecticut Sun)
- Glory Johnson and Skylar Diggins-Smith* (Dallas Wings)
- Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx)
- Tina Charles* and Bria Hartley (New York Liberty)
- Brittney Griner* (Phoenix Mercury)
- Courtney Paris (Seattle Storm)
Note: Players with asterisks are considered core player free agents. These players are tagged by their franchise as core players which gives their previous team exclusive rights of negotiation.