WNBA Free Agency is right around the corner, and for the past three years, we have seen a massive shift of hype and excitement around it that fans are eager to continue. Front offices and players are meeting constantly right now, negotiating offers, and working for the right move. Beginning February 1, teams and players can officially sign on the dotted line, finalize deals, and break news to the public.
We’ve already seen exciting early movement in mid-January with teams announcing qualifying offers, extended offers, and coaching staff moves, so what will this year’s free agency bring? Time will tell, and even your top basketball betting expert might struggle to guess.
Let’s take a look at the top names to keep an eye on in this 2021 WNBA free agency.
Betnijah Laney: Atlanta Dream
To say Laney had a breakout season in 2020 would be an understatement. The six-foot wing dominated conversation after bouncing around from team-to-team, then becoming one of the league's top scorers at 17.2 points per game for Atlanta. One of Dream head coach Nicki Collen’s biggest tasks will be retaining Laney, a player who has thrived under her coaching.
Teams will be vying after Laney with her length, versatility, and flat-out scoring ability she showcased in 2020. Since she is unrestricted, Laney can talk to and negotiate with any team in the league, and I can assure you, a lot of them have their eyes on her.
Candace Parker: Los Angeles Sparks
Candance Parker also has a lot of eyes on her right now, with many questioning her future with the Sparks. Los Angeles has been active this offseason, announcing Derek Fisher as returning GM, coring Nneka Ogwumike, and retaining key reserves. Los Angeles keeping their “Big Three” and putting the right pieces around them to earn another WNBA championship is the focus for sure.
Keeping this group in-tact is a challenge. Parker is one of the best players in the world and has spent the entirety of her career in Los Angeles. Finding a way to keep a happy Candance Parker is a major key to their success, especially with the way she played in 2020 as a true dominant leader of this organization. The basketball betting odds on this team moving forward will be fun to watch.
Kayla McBride: Las Vegas Aces
The Aces, as we know, fell just short of a WNBA championship in 2020. Las Vegas has had an active offseason so far with a cored Liz Cambage and new ownership in Mark Davis. Kelsey Plum is set to return from an Achilles injury that caused her to miss last season, but the question leads to Kayla McBride and her continued longevity with the only franchise she has been with.
The big scoring wing is sought after this year by multiple organizations, and McBride has proven her ability to shoot the ball and put up big points. You have to imagine the Aces have her as a top priority, but rumors have swirled in recent years of a potential move for McBride. True or not? Time will tell.
Alysha Clark: Seattle Storm
The 2020 WNBA champions have a lot going on during this free agency and a lot for fans to keep an eye out for. Sue Bird, Natasha Howard, and Alysha Clark are all unrestricted free agents. Seattle cored Howard, securing her to a degree, but that does not mean a potential move could not happen soon.
Alysha Clark has also been a steady and consistent force defensively and offensively for Seattle the last nine years. Finding a way to keep her on their roster is important for their success. You have to imagine she would be highly sought-after as an unrestricted free agent this season and has a high stock with the way she has played the last few years.
Cheyenne Parker: Chicago Sky
Cheyenne Parker has established herself as one of the up-and-coming go-to post players in the paint. The six-four center has thrived under head coach James Wade’s system the last two seasons as a major contributing scoring option at 13.4 points per game.
The Sky will look to continue to run it back with a deep core in the backcourt and the return of a healthy Diamond DeShields, so where does that put Parker? She has to be a top priority for Chicago if they want to be taken seriously in the conversation about top teams in the league this year.
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Rachel Galligan is a basketball analyst at BetMGM, HERO Sports, and Winsidr, focusing on college hoops and the WNBA. She’s a former D1 standout at Eastern Illinois University, a three-time Hall of Famer, professional basketball player and collegiate coach. Rachel also has served as a color analyst for ESPN, OVC Sports Network, and Mountain West Network.