Jewell Loyd staying with Seattle Storm
Jewell Loyd is staying in Seattle and Breanna Stewart will be returning, too, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press.
“Jewell is a special talent with a tremendous work ethic and having her back greatly improves our chances of contending for a fifth championship,” said Storm coach Noelle Quinn. “Last season, she evolved into an elite defender, combining with her offensive firepower to solidify why she’s among the best in the league.”
The person spoke on condition of anonymity Monday night about Stewart because no official announcement has been made.
Stewart will sign a one-year deal for the supermax salary of $228,094 with the Storm. That potentially gives her one more season with point guard Sue Bird, the WNBA’s all-time assist leader who announced on social media that she’d return for one more year.
Tuesday was the first day that players could officially sign with teams.
The Storm won the 2018 and 2020 championships with that same core group of players and were poised to make another run at the title before Stewart got hurt late in the regular season and missed the overtime playoff loss to Phoenix.
Stewart underwent surgery for a minor repair and reinforcement of the Achilles tendon in her left leg in October. She missed the 2019 WNBA season after an Achilles injury she suffered while playing overseas.
Yahoo! Sports was the first to report Stewart’s signing.
People with knowledge of other free agent deals, who spoke on condition of anonymity because deals can’t be finalized until Tuesday, told the AP:
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— Angel McCoughtry is heading to Minnesota,
— Stefanie Dolson is coming home to New York,
— Emma Meesseman is joining Chicago,
— Courtney Williams is heading back to Connecticut.
Seven-time All-Star Sylvia Fowles has re-signed with Minnesota for what will be her 15th and final season in the WNBA. The 36-year-old Fowles, who won the WNBA Defensive Player of the Year award in 2021 for the fourth time in her career, will enter her eighth season with the Lynx.
“There are a few reasons why I chose to play another year,” Fowles said in a statement distributed by the Lynx. “The main reason for my return had a lot to do with our fans. I wanted to make sure I gave them the opportunity to see me play my final season. It feels right that my playing career finishes in Minnesota; there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.”
Connecticut re-signed reigning MVP Jonquel Jones to a multi-year contract.
“We are ecstatic about JJ’s decision to return and continue her career in Connecticut,” said Connecticut Sun coach and general manager Curt Miller. “She is one of the most versatile and talented players in the world. She has a burning desire to improve, and we look forward to building upon the momentum of her MVP season. JJ is an unselfish superstar and is driven to help bring a Championship to Connecticut. This is a great day for the Sun.”
Washington had a busy day, signing free agents Elizabeth Williams and Tianna Hawkins as well as bringing back Myisha Hines-Allen and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough.
Atlanta re-signed Tiffany Hayes and brought in free agent Nia Coffey.
“Tiffany is such a huge part of the Dream’s history and will be a vital part in how we set the mark this season for the franchise to move forward,” new Atlanta GM Dan Padover said. “She is one of the best two-way guards in the WNBA and plays with a competitive fire that has always represented the city of Atlanta. We are thrilled to have her back in a Dream uniform.”
Other unrestricted free agents who hadn’t signed yet include Liz Cambage, Tina Charles and Candice Dupree.
More AP women’s basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports