The top free agent available in the WNBA this offseason is reportedly narrowing down her decision. Former WNBA MVP Breanna Stewart, who the Minnesota Lynx hoped would be joining the team this offseason, is reportedly down to deciding between two teams: the Seattle Storm and New York Liberty.
.@RachGall reporting the Minnesota #Lynx are out on Breanna Stewart. #WNBA https://t.co/oy6AUISlNl— Mitchell Hansen (@M_Hansen13) January 29, 2023
Stewart reportedly met with the Storm, Liberty, Lynx and Washington Mystics to begin free agency, having the freedom to sign where she would like as an unrestricted free agent. Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune reported a few weeks ago that Lynx Head Coach and President of Basketball Operations Cheryl Reeve was in Istanbul, Turkey to meet with Stewart and other free agents to gauge Stewart to sign in Minnesota.
Although the Lynx and their fans had hopes of pairing Stewart with Napheesa Collier and others in Minnesota, that dream won’t become a reality. Instead, Stewart is now down to either returning to Seattle to continue playing for a team she has spent the entirety of her career with, or joining the suddenly loaded Liberty franchise that already acquired 2021 MVP Jonquel Jones earlier this offseason and will likely be one of the favorites to make a run at a league title in 2023.
Stewart, who finished runner-up for the 2022 MVP, led the league in scoring with 21.8 points per game while securing All-WNBA First Team and All-Defensive First Team honors a season ago. The 28-year-old also averaged 7.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.6 steals in 30.9 minutes over 34 games, shooting 47.2% from the field and 37.9% from three.
If Stewart returned to the Storm, she would re-join forces with Jewell Loyd and others in the post-Sue Bird era in Seattle. If she signs with the Livery, the trio of Stewart, Jones and Sabrina Ionescu would immediately make New York one of the top teams in the WNBA, joining the defending champions Las Vegas Aces — who recently added Candace Parker to an already star-studded lineup — as the two frontrunners to reach the WNBA Finals and fight for a title.
Although they appear to have ultimately missed out on Stewart, who could have single-handedly turned Minnesota into an immediate title contender, the Lynx will shift their focus to other free agents to fill out the roster ahead of the 2023 season. Even though Minnesota would have liked to sign Stewart, it likely didn’t plan for her to sign with the Lynx and have a Plan B in place in case the MVP-caliber talent signed elsewhere like she has.
Free agents can start officially signing with WNBA teams for the 2023 season on Feb. 1.