The 2022 WNBA free agency session is about to be in full swing. Players can begin negotiating and agreeing to deals with teams on Saturday and can sign the contracts beginning Feb. 1.
Here's what to know for the 2022 free agency period, including top free agents and teams likely to make moves. Follow Yahoo Sports for all of the latest reported deals, rumors and more.
Sun finalizing multi-year deal with MVP
The Connecticut Sun are finalizing a multi-year deal with 2021 MVP Jonquel Jones, Rachel Galligan reported for Winsidr.
The put the core designation on the 6-foot-6 center ahead of the official free agency period to keep her with the organization. But the core is only a one-year, supermax deal unless the sides negotiate longer terms. Jones has spent her entire career with the Sun and put up a career year both in the WNBA and abroad in 2021. If Connecticut is going to get its championship, it needs its paint presence.
It also needs help from the backcourt, which it reportedly plans to get from free agent guard Courtney Williams. Williams was a catalyst for the Sun's WNBA Finals run in 2019 before signing a two-year deal with the Atlanta Dream. The Sun are finalizing a deal with her to re-sign there, per Khristina Williams of Girls Talk Sports TV.
Williams is currently playing in the five-week Athletes Unlimited league that tips off its first games on Wednesday. She averaged 12.7 points shooting 45.4%, 5.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists in three-plus seasons with the Sun.
Breanna Stewart meets with Liberty
Breanna Stewart, a two-time champion and 2018 WNBA MVP with the Seattle Storm, met with New York Liberty personnel the week of Jan. 17, Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes reported.
The free agent met with owners Joe and Clara Tsai, first-year head coach Sandy Brondello, everyone in the front office and business leads in Los Angeles, per the report.
Free agent WNBA superstar Breanna Stewart - in move that could end Seattle Storm tenure - met with New York Liberty this week in LA and it included owners Joe and Clara Tsai, full front office staff, business leads and head coach Sandy Brondello, league sources told @YahooSports.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) January 21, 2022
The Storm opted to put its core designation on Jewell Loyd, leaving Stewart open to look at other teams as an unrestricted free agent. Sue Bird is also a UFA, but is almost certainly staying in Seattle.
Stewart is a native of Syracuse, New York, about five hours from Brooklyn. Stewart and wife Marta Xargay welcomed their first child, Ruby Mae, in August.
A two-time Olympic gold medalist and four-time NCAA champion with UConn, Stewart is one of the most accomplished professional basketball players already at the age of 27. She has said she plans on being back in town, but also teased the free agency period as potentially one of the splashiest in league history.
A move across the country to re-unite with Natasha Howard alongside scoring guard threats Sabrina Ionescu and Betnijah Laney would certainly do it.
Fowles won't retire, likely re-signing with Lynx
Sylvia Fowles, a two-time WNBA champion and four-time Defensive Player of the Year, announced on Instagram on Jan. 19 she will return for a 15th season in the league.
Fowles is an unrestricted free agent and was noncommittal on her plans in the Lynx's final media availability. Her post caption read, "home," with graphics of Minnesota. She started her career in Chicago.
The Lynx have re-built around "Mama Syl" and Napheesa Collier in recent years following their dynasty run. Collier is pregnant with her first child and is due in the spring.
Fever waive another lottery pick
The Indiana Fever waived Kysre Gondrezick, their surprise No. 4 overall pick in the 2021 WNBA draft, on Jan. 18. It's the second time in as many years the team has let go of a lottery pick after waiving Lauren Cox, the No. 3 pick in 2020, early in her second season.
Gondrezick was entering the second year of her rookie deal and set to make $71,441 in the 2022 season, per Her Hoop Stats. She averaged 1.9 points through 19 games before stepping away for personal reasons following the death of her father, former Phoenix Suns draftee Grant Gondrezick.
The Fever have the No. 2 pick in April's draft.
Storm core Jewell Loyd, not Breanna Stewart
A clearer picture could be coming into focus in Seattle ahead of the 5 p.m. Friday deadline for qualifying offers. The Storm have put the core designation on Jewell Loyd, Rachel Galligan reported for Winsidr. Loyd can now take the one-year, $228,094 supermax offer, negotiate a longer deal with the team or agree to a sign-and-trade deal.
Sources tell @Winsidr that the Seattle Storm have put the core designation on Jewell Loyd.
— Rachel Galligan (@RachGall) January 14, 2022
The Storm's top three of Loyd, Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird, who announced her return for a final year, are all unrestricted free agents. The team had the core designation to use, but could not use it on Bird. And there would be no point in doing so since it's almost guaranteed she's staying in the only town she's ever played. The franchise was fined for posting on social media "she's back" upon the point guard's announcement, per the Associated Press.
The other option was two-time Finals MVP Stewart. The core for Loyd indicates the club believes Stewart plans to re-sign in Seattle. If Loyd does want to play elsewhere, the team can broker a trade in which they would have something in return for the talented guard.
The No. 1 pick in the 2015 draft averaged a career-high 17.9 points and 3.8 assists per game in 2020. She was a key part of the 2018 and 2020 title-winning teams.
Sky core Finals MVP Kahleah Copper
The Chicago Sky have opted to use the core designation on Finals MVP Kahleah Copper, one of their plethora of free agents this offseason, Annie Costabile reported for the Chicago Sun-Times. The offer is a one-year supermax deal for $228,094. The sides can negotiate different terms and Copper can agree to a sign-and-trade deal.
Copper told Yahoo Sports in October she was heading into free agency with an "open mind, but I really love the city of Chicago" and it was somewhere she wanted to stay. She averaged a team-best 14.4 points on 45.9% shooting overall. During their long playoff run as the No. 6 seed, she averaged 17.7 points and 5.3 rebounds and shot 52%.
The supermax offer is a bump of approximately $63,000 from her 2021 salary. The Sky have already extended qualifying offers to Diamond DeShields ($73,542) and Lexie Brown ($72,141).
It leaves $534,438 in cap room (excluding non-guaranteed contracts) as the team looks to re-sign a combination of Courtney Vandersloot ($200,000 salary in 2021), Allie Quigley ($194,000), Stefanie Dolson ($175,000) and Astou Ndour-Fall ($70,040).
MVP Jonquel Jones cored by Sun
Jonquel Jones, the 2021 league MVP, received the core designation from the Connecticut Sun on Monday, Rachel Galligan reported for Winsidr. The core qualifying offer is for a one-year, $228,094 supermax deal. Jones can sign the offer or negotiate a multiyear deal with the Sun, which selected the 6-foot-6 forward at No. 6 in the 2016 WNBA draft.
It does not confirm Jones will stay in Connecticut. The team could engage in a sign-and-trade deal, such as the Seattle Storm did in sending Natasha Howard to New York last year. Core players have to approve trades.
Jones, who turned 28 on Jan. 5, averaged 19.4 points, 11.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists in her MVP season.