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WNBA Free Agency 2023: Jonquel Jones to be traded to Liberty, Maya Moore retires

The WNBA offseason is starting with some fireworks that may affect the Mystics this season.

Verizon WNBA All Star Game 2017
Jonquel Jones and Maya Moore don’t play for the Mystics. But news around them can affect Washington’s place in the season standings next season.
Photo by Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images

The Washington Mystics are in the middle of the offseason. While no moves have affected them directly yet, they can give General Manager Mike Thibault, Head Coach Eric Thibault and their staff clarity about where the team stands.

Let’s go through two of the biggest moves that happened in the last 24 hours or so.

Jonquel Jones to be traded to New York Liberty in three-team trade involving Connecticut Sun and Dallas Wings

The 2021 WNBA MVP is heading to Brooklyn to play alongside Sabrina Ionescu, one of the league’s top young point guards. It clearly is a move to help put New York in position to contend for a WNBA Finals appearance

Rachel Galligan of WInsidr was first to report the news, while Howard Megdal laid out the terms of the trade.

I’ll let Brian Fleurantin of NetsDaily explain the impact this has for the Liberty in more detail here. As for the impact this trade has on the standings for Washington, I would keep a closer eye on New York. Will their head coach Sandy Brondello capitalize on Jones’ arrival and does this put them clearly ahead of the Mystics? On paper, I’m going to have to say yes if they go against Washington’s 2022 roster.

There is still one more post who is an unrestricted free agent, namely Breanna Stewart. Liberty fans are hoping that she will play at Barclays this summer. But if she remains in Seattle, Stewart will become the undisputed face of the Storm franchise because Sue Bird retired after last year.

Maya Moore officially retires

In addition to the news about Jones, Maya Moore announced that she has officially retired from basketball earlier today on “Good Morning America.” She played her entire professional career with the Minnesota Lynx from 2011-18, where she won four championships and the 2014 WNBA MVP award.

This news isn’t surprising and Moore’s announcement is a formality. She stepped away from basketball four years ago in 2019, first to help free Jonathan Irons, her now-husband. She also had a child last year with him. But because Moore never said she was retiring, it always left open the possibility that she may come back, whether to Minnesota or another team.

Given how long Moore has been out from basketball, I don’t think it affects the Mystics, Lynx or any team now. The bigger news would have been if she planned on returning.

That said, Moore’s initial absence in 2019 was big news for the Mystics. With Moore out, it allowed Elena Delle Donne to shine with fewer competitors who play the same position. And it also helped set the conditions for the Mystics to win the WNBA championship that year.

What are your reactions to the news and how you think they affect the Mystics? Let us know in the comments below.