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2020 WNBA key dates released, free agency negotiations to start on Jan. 28

The 2020 WNBA season’s free agency period begins on Feb. 10 with negotiations starting this Tuesday!

2019 WNBA Finals - Game Five
WNBA free agency is FINALLY about to begin!
Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

The WNBA has announced the key dates for the 2020 season. Here are just some of the key dates to be aware of and how they affect the Washington Mystics where possible.

  • Jan. 28 — Free agency negotiations begin. I’ve been clear on who the highest priority is: Emma Meesseman. To prevent her from going elsewhere, she’ll just have to be cored. Elena Delle Donne and Kristi Toliver will get their big paydays either way.
  • Feb. 10 — Free Agency Period begins. Announcements will come around this time. By this time, we’ll also know if Meesseman’s Belgian Cats are Olympic-bound. There is a break this year for the Olympics, but European teams are notorious for training together all summer long before world tournaments. So it’s safe to say that Meesseman’s gone at least the first half of the season, if not all of it, should they be Tokyo bound. I don’t anticipate many shocking trades and signings for Washington given their lack of cap space.
  • Apr. 17 — WNBA Draft! Washington has the 12th overall pick in the first round.
  • Apr. 26Training camp starts! We’ll be at ESA for Media Day!
  • May 14 — Roster announcement day! That’s a nicer term for the last day to make roster cuts. I don’t think there will be too many changes for the Mystics this season as a whole, but we’ll see!
  • May 15 — Regular season begins! The Mystics’ first game is on the following day when they host the Los Angeles Sparks at 4 p.m. ET
  • July 11 - Aug. 13 — Olympic break! There will be a month off for most of Washington’s players. However, you can expect Delle Donne and possibly Atkins to wear another shade of red, white and blue for Los Estados Unidos. Meesseman and Kim Mestdagh, if she returns, would represent Belgium. Washington’s last game before the break is on July 10 when they host the Minnesota Lynx.
  • Aug. 16 — Games resume! Washington will host the Atlanta Dream on this date!
  • Aug. 21 — Trade deadline. The WNBA trade deadline isn’t like its NBA counterpart where people rush to the ESPN trade machine to whip up crazy scenarios. In fact, the WNBA doesn’t have a “trade machine.” But if some midseason drama happens, you never know, this date can be more notable. Just as a reminder, Aerial Powers was traded to Washington right before the trade deadline in 2017.
  • Sept. 20 — Regular season ends. Washington hosts the Connecticut Sun on this day.

The playoffs and WNBA Finals will start in late September and go through mid-October. If the WNBA Finals stretches to five games like it did last season, it’s unlikely that it will overlap with the start of the 2020-21 NBA season.