Breanna Stewart is one of the few players that most people would consider one of the 3 or 4 best players in the WNBA.
It would be disastrous to have a WNBA season without her – especially when it wasn’t due to injury. But with the way things are shaping up now, it looks like this could be a real possibility.
Stewart’s WNBA future is up in the air in more ways than one. First, she’s a free agent this off season. signed on One-year deal worth $228,094 Last year to return to Seattle Storm for another season. This deal is over and she can go where she wants now.
But it also may not play anywhere in the W due to the WNBA’s “prioritization” rule which is part of most leagues The last collective bargaining agreement.
In an effort to make sure they keep their best players committed to the league, perhaps W is actually pushing one of its best players. It’s weird. It is shaky. But it may also be necessary. Let’s talk about it.
Wait, what is the rule for prioritizing?
As part of a recently negotiated collective bargaining agreement, the WNBA included a “prioritization” clause. This is exactly how it looks.
It’s a written clause to make sure that WNBA players prioritize the league over others when the season comes around. Here’s a quick summary of ESPN’s Kevin Bilton.
“In the first year of the priority setting rule, players with more than two years of experience are required to report to their WNBA teams by opening night. Aside from a few exceptions related to national team play and personal emergencies, any player no longer An outsider by that date will be ineligible to play for the entire 2023 season.”
In short, if you’re not at the start of a stressful WNBA camp out of the commitment of a non-national team overseas, you’re not playing in the WNBA this season.
Why does the player not return to the training camp?
Many WNBA players travel abroad to play basketball in foreign leagues throughout the off-season.
“Why do we go? Mostly we go because there is a lot of money. Some people go to work on their games. But some people also go – and Diana (Torasi) will tell you this – she went because of the money and because she’s a basketball player. And that’s what basketball players do: they They want to play.”
Are salaries much different?
definitely. Back on track with Stewart, she just earned a super salary of $228,094, and it’s clearly nothing to be scornful of.
On the other hand, I did 1.5 million dollars playing abroad She plays for her Russian club UMMC Ekaterinburg, for example. I left the club this summer after signing with Turkish sport Fenerbahce, But the same concept still applies.
You will earn more playing abroad than you will earn in the W.
That’s why Stewart is in danger of not coming back?
yes. The future is up in the air for her and her colleague, Gabe Williams, who has expressed the same concerns.
Williams said directly that she is staying away from the WNBA because the salaries are not close to what she would make in Europe.
Can’t the WNBA just make an exception? Do they really need this condition?
No exceptions can be made here. The collective bargaining agreement applies to all players equally throughout the league. That’s what the WNBA Players Association has agreed.
As far as whether or not they actually need the item, that is definitely a topic for debate.
On the one hand, it obviously hampers the hamstrings of players who are now put in a bind as they have to choose between ensuring they can come home to play in the W once the season starts or making more money elsewhere.
But on the other hand, it is the league that creates security for itself that any good business can do. Prioritizing leadership in the WNBA moving forward can keep players more refreshed and reduce injury. So it makes sense that they want this.
So how does W fit this?
Well, the easy but not easy answer is to pay more players. Financially motivating players to stay at home is key here.
But this is easier said than done. Remember, the WNBA is still a growing league. She is only 26 years old. They do not have the same support that the overseas leagues have as some teams are fully funded by the countries in which they are based.
But the league is already growing. You just got an investment of $75 million Last year from a number of donors And there was too Serious talk about expansionwhich could open up revenue sharing possibilities going forward.
In the meantime, W may want to look into a partnership with a league like Athlete’s Unlimited to keep players at home during the break. The league also invests in 3×3 basketball as an option too.
They are working on it. But these things take time. In the meantime, let’s hope we don’t have to lose out on top talent in the league like Breanna Stewart. Because that would be a shame.