NBA: Breanna Stewart and Jonquel Jones’ Futures with the Liberty in Doubt
By Bridget Reilly
Published Oct. 19, 2023, 11:42 p.m. ET
Breanna Stewart played a crucial role in the Liberty’s season, with the team aiming to win a WNBA championship. Her acquisition as a free agent from Seattle generated interest from other notable free agents, including Courtney Vandersloot, who joined the Liberty after Stewart, and 2021 MVP Jonquel Jones, who was acquired via a trade from Connecticut. However, following a season-ending 70-69 loss in Game 4 of the WNBA Finals to the Aces, the Liberty’s chances of retaining both former MVPs are uncertain. Stewart and Jones will be free agents this offseason, and while they are expected to stay, recent offseason changes have shown that anything is possible.
Despite the potential departure of Stewart and Jones, Liberty’s general manager, Jonathan Kolb, remains optimistic, stating that the team has created an attractive environment for players and that Stewart and Jones take pride in being members of the Liberty.
Stewart signed a one-year contract with a salary reduction to $175,000, while Jones also joined on a one-year deal, earning just over $208,000. Retaining both players would undoubtedly strengthen the Liberty’s future, and a year of experience together could help the team return to the WNBA Finals.
Although the Liberty fell short in the championship game, Vandersloot expressed gratitude for the opportunity to play for a championship and emphasized using the experience as a learning opportunity to improve and strive for success in the following year.
However, the Liberty’s main concern is Stewart’s performance in the postseason, which was inconsistent compared to her stellar regular-season performance. Stewart, a five-time All-Star and two-time MVP, posted career-high numbers in points per game and rebounds during the regular season. Despite her success against the Aces in the regular season, shooting struggles plagued her during the playoffs, resulting in her lowest shooting percentage in any 10-game stretch throughout her WNBA career. In Game 4, Stewart shot just 3-for-17 and was unable to redeem herself in the final moments.
Although disappointed with the loss, Stewart has a track record of delivering in big moments, as seen in her previous championship-clinching performances. The Liberty will hope for a bounce-back postseason performance from Stewart in the future.
Rachel Adams is your WNBA insider, delivering comprehensive coverage of women’s basketball. With a commitment to highlighting the talent and achievements of WNBA players, she provides game analysis, player profiles, and inspiring stories from the league.