jonquel-stewie.jpg
Getty Images

WNBA free agency has officially arrived. While no deals can be finalized until Feb. 1, teams were allowed to start talking to players on Jan. 15. And what a group of players this is. There are five former MVPs hitting the market this winter, and seven of the 10 players from last season's All-WNBA teams. 

That's sure to make for a fascinating few weeks as we wait to see how many of those stars will change teams. As the action gets underway, be sure to follow along with our tracker that will keep you up to date with all the moves. 

For now, here's a look at this year's top-10 free agents: 

1. Jonquel Jones 

  • Prior team: Connecticut Sun
  • Position: F/C
  • Status: Cored

From Most Improved Player, to Sixth Player of the Year, to All-WNBA, Jones had been ascending the ranks for years. Last season, she finally reached the top and staked her claim as the best player in the world with a near-unanimous MVP campaign. Interior scoring, 3-point shooting, rebounding, elite defense, athleticism, Jones has it all. The Sun, wisely, have already placed the core designation on their superstar, which gives them exclusive negotiating rights and makes it likely Jones will get the supermax and return to Uncasville for another run at the title. 

2. Breanna Stewart

  • Prior team: Seattle Storm
  • Position: F
  • Status: Unrestricted

Stewart's 2021 season ended in disappointing fashion, as she sat on the sidelines in a boot while the Storm were knocked out of the playoffs in the second round. Following the season, she then underwent a minor surgical procedure on her left Achilles tendon. (She previously ruptured her right Achilles tendon.) Despite those injury concerns, Stewart is still one of the best players in the league and will get another max contract – likely from the Storm. Though they decided not to "core" her, it's hard to imagine Stewart leaving, especially with Sue Bird coming back for one final season. 

3. A'ja Wilson

  • Prior team: Las Vegas Aces
  • Position: F
  • Status: Restricted

That Wilson checks in at No. 3 on this list says much more about the other players hitting free agency than it does about her. One of the most talented players in the league, she's a former MVP herself, and should remain a fixture in that discussion as she continues to improve. Wilson is a restricted free agent, which means the Aces have the ability to match any offer she receives – if she even bothers to listen to other teams. Wilson returning to Las Vegas to play with new head coach Becky Hammon is about as close to a guarantee as you can get in free agency.

4. Courtney Vandersloot

  • Prior team: Chicago Sky
  • Position: G
  • Status: Unrestricted

After a decade of record-setting personal achievements, but frustrating playoff results, Vandersloot finally got her ring last season and she helped lead the Sky to the franchise's first WNBA title. There's no guarantee, though, that she's going to return to Chicago – the only team she's ever played for – to try and run it back. Vandersloot has "multiple meetings" scheduled according to Annie Costabile of the Chicago Sun-Times, and it appears as though she's at least considering her options. If Vandersloot was to go elsewhere, that would be fascinating. 

5. Jewell Loyd

  • Prior team: Seattle Storm
  • Position: G
  • Status: Cored

Playing alongside Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird, Loyd has at times been overlooked. Not last season, though, as she averaged a career-high 17.9 points per game and made her first All-WNBA First Team. With all of their big three hitting free agency this winter, the Storm could only "core" one of them and chose Loyd – perhaps an indication that they were most concerned with her leaving. If Loyd does want out, the Storm now have a chance to get a significant return in a sign-and-trade. If not, then she'll re-sign and the Storm will once again be one of the title favorites. 

6. Kahleah Copper

  • Prior team: Chicago Sky
  • Position: G
  • Status: Cored

Copper emerged from relative obscurity – at least on a national level – to play a major role in the Sky's title run and claim Finals MVP. In the process, she earned herself a major payday. The Sky chose to "core" Copper, which it's unlikely they were going to do prior to the playoffs, and guarantees her a one-year deal at the supermax level. That also raises the odds that she'll return to Chicago, but a sign-and-trade is always possible, especially with all of the other moving parts the Sky have this winter. Wherever Copper plays, her ability to get to the basket and guard multiple positions on the other end will make her team better. 

7. Sylvia Fowles

  • Prior team: Minnesota Lynx
  • Position: C
  • Status: Unrestricted

Last season was one of the best of Fowles' storied career, as she won Defensive Player of the Year, led the Lynx to the No. 4 seed and proved she could still compete at a high level. Whether she'll continue doing so remains to be seen. Now 36 years old, Fowles said after last season that she wasn't sure about her future, and had "some things" to talk about with Lynx head coach and GM Cheryl Reeve. If Fowles does come back, it would almost certainly be with Minnesota, but retirement is a very real possibility for the future Hall of Famer. 

8. Liz Cambage

  • Prior team: Las Vegas Aces
  • Position: C
  • Status: Unrestricted

There are no debates about Cambage's talents; at her best, she is a dominant force on both ends of the floor, and one of the best bigs in the league. The problem, so far as there is one, is that she's not always at that level. Specifically for the Aces, there's also the question of whether she's the best fit next to A'ja Wilson. On that front, it seems notable that they didn't give Cambage the core designation. Back in 2019, Cambage expressed a clear desire to play in Los Angeles but was traded to the Aces instead. Could this be the year she finally joins the Sparks? Or will she be back in Vegas after all? Or, perhaps, will she sit out, as she's previously hinted at doing?

9. Myisha Hines-Allen

  • Prior team: Washington Mystics
  • Position: F
  • Status: Restricted

A former second-round pick, Hines-Allen is by far the least well-known name on this list. That shouldn't remain the case for long, however. As she proved in the bubble in 2020, when she took on a bigger role and made All-WNBA Second Team, Hines-Allen can play. And now, she's going to get paid. As a restricted free agent, she'll likely be back in Washington, but there's always a chance that another team will come in with an offer the Mystics aren't willing to match. 

10. Tina Charles

  • Prior team: Washington Mystics
  • Position: F/C
  • Status: Unrestricted

Charles is coming off a major bounce back season in which she led the league in scoring with a career-high 23.4 points per game, and finished fifth in the MVP voting. It's worth noting, though, that the Mystics' brutal injury situation forced Charles to carry the offense by herself, and she averaged a league-high 19.6 field goal attempts. That's not to take away from what she did, but rather to show it's unrealistic to expect those kinds of numbers again, regardless of where she signs. Still, it's clear that Charles can still be a highly productive offensive player, especially if her improved 3-point shooting – 36.5 percent on 5.1 attempts per game, both career-highs – is real.