The WNBA free agency period starts on Saturday, Jan. 21. Though there is a major trade coming between the Connecticut Sun, New York Liberty and Dallas Wings, in general, deals cannot be made official until Feb. 1.
So let’s break down where the Mystics are with the salary cap and go from there.
Who is on contract this year for the Mystics?
Washington has five players under contract for a total of $848.034, according to Her Hoop Stats, which Gabe Ibrahim, one of our reporters also writes for.
- Elena Delle Donne ($234,350, guaranteed)
- Natasha Cloud ($190,000, guaranteed)
- Myisha Hines-Allen ($175,100, guaranteed)
- Ariel Atkins ($175,000, guaranteed)
- Shakira Austin ($73,584, rookie scale)
The salary cap is $1.42 million, so the Mystics have $572,466 to sign six or seven players. Keep in mind that at a bare minimum, $74,305 will be used to sign the fourth pick in this year’s draft, assuming their second and third round picks aren’t signed.
In addition, we can expect Christyn Williams to return. She was the second round pick last year, but missed the season due to an ACL tear. So the Mystics only have a little over $400,000 to spend.
Which Mystics players are unrestricted free agents?
These players can sign with anyone they want! Four Mystics players from last year’s team are in this category:
- Alysha Clark
- Tianna Hawkins
- Shatori Walker-Kimbrough
- Elizabeth Williams
Which Mystics players are restricted free agents?
These players typically have four WNBA seasons and played out their rookie scale contracts. They can sign an offer sheet with any team, which their team from the previous season can match.
Washington has no restricted free agents.
Which Mystics players are reserved?
These players’ contracts have expired, but they also don’t have four WNBA seasons. In general, they can only re-sign with their team from last year. Washington has three reserved players, who are:
- Jazmine Jones
- Rui Machida
- Evina Westbrook
How should the Mystics approach free agency?
Of Washington’s guaranteed contracts, everyone except Hines-Allen’s expires after this season. Given that this is likely Delle Donne’s last big payday, they may be inclined to make a splashy hire and play a smaller rotation for 2023. $400,000 is sufficient to sign one max-level free agent and two end-of-the-bench reserves.
If Washington decides to go for the biggest free agents available, they will not be able to re-sign Alysha Clark unless she opts for a lower salary.
We’ll take a look at some of the most coveted unrestricted free agents tomorrow!