WNBA free agency officially kicked off on Monday, which means there will be plenty of former UConn women’s basketball players in the news. We’ll keep track of all the rumored and official moves over the coming weeks right here:
Diana Taurasi returning to Phoenix
Diana Taurasi re-signed with the only team she’s ever known in the WNBA, inking a multi-year deal with the Phoenix Mercury, the team announced on Monday. According to Winsidr’s Rachel Galligan, the 38-year old’s contract is a two-year supermax worth $221,450 in 2021 and $228,094 in 2022.
Sue Bird expected to re-sign in Seattle
Coming off her fourth WNBA championship, Sue Bird isn’t going anywhere. The 17-year veteran has “agreed in principle” to re-sign with the Seattle Storm according to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes. However, the deal may not be official right away as the Storm attempt to figure out their salary cap situation, per ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel. Bird, who turned 40 in October, graduated from UConn before the Huskies’ newest addition Saylor Poffenbarger was even born.
Tina Charles re-ups with Washington
Tina Charles re-signed with the Washington Mystics on a one-year, $175,000 deal, according to Gabe Ibrahim. The Mystics acquired Charles from the New York Liberty in a blockbuster trade last offseason but she never suited up for the team after opting out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns.
Phoenix stockpiling Huskies
Two former UConn players are on the move. The New York Liberty traded Kia Nurse and Megan Walker to the Phoenix Mercury, where they will join fellow former Huskies Taurasi and Bria Hartley.
In exchange, the Liberty will receive the No. 6 pick in the 2021 WNBA Draft and a 2022 first round pick, per Rachel Galligan.
“With a hard salary cap and great parity in our league, you rarely get the opportunity to add a 24-year-old All-Star, much less a player whose skill set and temperament fits seamlessly with our roster. Kia Nurse was our top acquisition target this offseason because of her outside shooting, aggressiveness off the dribble, size and versatility on defense, and competitiveness,” Mercury general manager Jim Pitman said in a release.
“If Megan Walker had stayed for her senior season at UConn, we believe that she would have been considered among the top prospects of the 2021 draft class,” he added. “She shot over 45 percent from three-point range her last year in college, is shooting better than 40% from three in Europe this offseason and has the potential to be an important part of our roster in 2021.”
Seattle Storm acquire Katie Lou Samuelson
For the second time in as many offseasons, Katie Lou Samuelson is on the move. The Seattle Storm announced they acquired her from the Dallas Wings (along with a 2022 second round pick) for the No. 1 pick in the 2021 WNBA Draft.
While that seems like a high price, this year’s draft class is expected to be on the weaker side, so Samuelson is likely a better player than whoever gets taken with the top pick.
Samuelson will join Sue Bird, Breanna Stewart and Morgan Tuck as former UConn players on the Storm.
Other free agents
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who spent last season with the Connecticut Sun, is also out of contract.