The 2023 WNBA free agency period is officially heating up as we approach the end of the moratorium on Feb. 1. Most notably, two-time MVP Candace Parker agreed to a deal with the Las Vegas Aces, which will make the defending champions a superteam and the heavy favorites to repeat -- at least as things stand.
There are a number of other stars on the market, though, and the title race could swing again with the stroke of a pen. As the action continues, here's a look at some of the latest rumors, including notes on Breanna Stewart, Alysha Clark and Brittney Sykes.
Stewart down to Storm or Liberty
Breanna Stewart has narrowed her list of potential destinations to the Seattle Storm and New York Liberty, according to Rachel Galligan. The top free agent on the market for the second year in a row, her decision will alter the future of multiple franchises and shape the title race for years to come.
Stewart had the Minnesota Lynx and Washington Mystics on her initial list, but it doesn't appear she ever gave them serious consideration. That's not exactly surprising, as those franchises were surprise contenders to begin with. The Storm, of course, are the only team Stewart has ever played for, while the Liberty met with her last season, play in her home state of New York and recently added fellow MVP candidate Jonquel Jones via a blockbuster trade.
The Storm currently have just two players on the roster: Jewell Loyd and Mercedes Russell. Stewart loves playing with Loyd, though, and together they're one of the best 1-2 punches in the league. Plus, the current situation gives the Storm plenty of flexibility and cap space to build a roster around those two if Stewart re-signs. One potential option is Courtney Vandersloot, who reportedly has an interest in playing with Stewart and would provide a natural replacement for the retired Sue Bird.
As for the Liberty, their roster is largely in place, and already features one of the most exciting offensive cores in the league in Jones, Sabrina Ionescu and Marine Johannes. Adding Stewart (and potentially Vandersloot as well), would give the Liberty a potentially historic offense and a true superteam. To that latter point, it's worth wondering if Stewart and/or Vandersloot will be influenced by Candace Parker's decision to join the defending champion Las Vegas Aces. Perhaps those two will now feel compelled to team up with Jones to have a real chance to win a title.
Aces bolster squad even futher with Clark
The Aces went from regular title contender to superteam by adding Candace Parker earlier this week, and now they've found a way to solidify that status. Veteran forward Alysha Clark plans to sign with the Aces, per Khristina Williams. Clark, a two-time champion, spent last season with the Washington Mystics.
Now 35 years old, Clark is far from the player she was at her peak with the Seattle Storm, when she was one of the best role players in the league. Still, she's a stout defender at multiple positions, is a career 38.4 percent 3-point shooter and does not need the ball on offense.
In short, she should be a perfect fit for the Aces and increase the odds that they become the first team to win back-to-back titles since the Los Angeles Sparks in 2001 and 2002.
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Sykes to join Mystics
While Brittney Sykes doesn't have the same name recognition as some of the superstar free agents this winter, she did make her third consecutive All-Defensive Team appearance last season and drew the interest of a number of teams due to her athleticism and ability to lock down on the perimeter.
It appears that the Washington Mystics have won the race to sign her. Howard Megdal first reported the deal, while Khristina Williams indicated it will be a three-year contract. Sykes spent the first three seasons of her career with the Atlanta Dream, before being traded to the Los Angeles Sparks, where she spent the last three seasons.
Sykes will join Natasha Cloud and Ariel Atkins -- fellow All-Defensive performers last season -- to form by far the fiercest defensive backcourt in the league. The Mystics finished with the best defense in the league last season, allowing just 96 points per 100 possessions, and they should be even better on that end of the floor next season.