Should the WNBA keep or eliminate the Core Player Designation in the next collective bargaining agreement?

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While much of the talk about the WNBA collective bargaining agreement (CBA) has centered around roster size, we now talk about another important part of the process which is on the core player designation.

I know, I'm writing this while the CBA is being written out.  But while the talk about roster size has definitely been important, this is another issue that I don't think has received enough attention.

In the last CBA, teams were allowed to give the core player designation to any one player who would be entering restricted or unrestricted free agency. In practice, this is almost always given to a player who would be an unrestricted free agent. The player in return gets a max-contract for at least one year, though the player and the team can always negotiate a longer contract. If the team does sign a cored player for a multi-year deal, then the core designation cannot be used again until that contract expires. Here's a good plain-English assessment on this from WNBAlien.

There are reasons why you can argue that the Core Player Designation should remain with the new CBA.  First, this is because this helps teams retain their top players which should keep fans happy and also could help keep season ticket holders renewing. Second, cored players are also often among the best players on their teams, keeping them there also fosters stability of the roster.

There are also reasons why you can argue that the Core Player Designation should be eliminated. First, this can restrict star player movement, since front offices of teams could strategically time their coring in such a way so that the star players they have would be locked up early.

Second, because many star players in their prime can simply be cored, this often can make a free agency signing period a lot more vanilla than it could be if such a rule did not exist. With vanilla offseasons and free agency, there is less buzz around the league.

Third, if a team cores a player, that player could also just refuse to show up. Look at Deanna Nolan, who was cored by the Tulsa Shock in the 2011-2012 offseason and again in the 2013-2014 offseason though her rights were eventually traded to the New York Liberty. This is also a case where coring a player could backfire. To take a look at players who were given the Core Player Designation, click here for the 2012-2013 offseason and click here for the 2011-2012 offseason.

If you were able to make the call on this issue, do you think that the Core Player Designation should remain in the new CBA? Let us know in the comments below.

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