A few of us chatted about the news of the WNBA CBA earlier this week. Here are our responses!
Albert Lee: The new WNBA CBA was agreed to earlier this week. From a league standpoint, I’m very optimistic. Players are getting paid and will get better travel accommodations. Franchise players like Elena Delle Donne will finally start getting salaries that can start competing with the European superteams.
But for the Mystics’ longer term championship hopes, I am a bit mixed. That’s because we don’t know exactly how the WNBA’s relationship with the international schedule will look like. That isn’t good news when it comes to retaining Emma Meesseman.
Still, this is a big deal and great news for all parties. So with that in mind, what are your initial thoughts on this?
Matt Silich: I can’t claim to be an expert on the WNBA CBA, but the logic of the new “supermax” system installed by the league makes a lot of sense to me. You just cannot have the biggest, most marketable stars of the league playing internationally during the WNBA offseason. Allowing that select few to access a salary that could prevent them from wandering elsewhere seems wise.
That aside, it was also encouraging to see the players provided with some essential basic accommodations, like having their own hotel rooms and flying with extra legroom — these are perks that fans likely don’t think about but were clearly a priority for the women of the WNBA (and for good reason).
On the whole, it feels like the WNBA and its players have done right by each other with this new deal, and I’m optimistic that it will keep all parties satisfied for at least the short term.
L.W.: I share Albert’s concerns about how the Mystics can keep Meesseman as a core part of the team as the Belgian’s starpower rises internationally and her national team remains a world power. But as long as Mike Thibault keeps finding undervalued forwards and guards in the draft and on the trade market, they can probably keep her around “part time”.
And if not...the team has three other great front court players (including the MVP), and I’m not sure it would be terrible for them to spend Meesseman’s cap space on a guard or wing. It’s true, whoever else they pay that money too probably won’t be as good as Meesseman. But the roster right now is very vulnerable to injuries to Natasha Cloud and Kristi Toliver.
All of that said: We’re getting ahead of ourselves with respect to the Meesseman/Mystics relationship, at least until we know if Belgium actually makes the Olympics in February.
And all in all, I do think the new CBA is better for the league as a whole In the long term, including the Mystics.
Alan Jenkins: After learning about the news and reading about the new WNBA CBA online, it feels like a big-time win in the short term. There are significant upgrades in travel arrangements, revenue sharing and salary increases across the board.
They are huge wins for the players and the WNBA overall. And this also gives the Mystics a boost of momentum behind its back after last year’s championship run.