2023 was a year full of WNBA happenings, both on and off the court. Here, we’ll focus on the off-court developments, from a league-shaking free agency period to another memorable draft night to long-awaited expansion news.
Free agency frenzy
Free agency ushered in the WNBA’s superteam era, with big, championship-chasing swings by the Las Vegas Aces and New York Liberty.
The defending-champion Aces added Candace Parker and Alysha Clark, while the Liberty aimed to build an insta-contender in Brooklyn through trading for Jonquel Jones and signing Breanna Stewart and Courtney Vandersloot. Those decisions left the Chicago Sky, Connecticut Sun and Seattle Storm to retool on the fly. In other moves, the Dallas Wings welcomed Natasha Howard, the Atlanta Dream acquired Allisha Gray and the Los Angeles Sparks looked to establish a refreshed identity under new head coach Curt Miller.
Draft night dreams
Despite the ways in which roster-size limitations and salary cap constraints prevent many draft picks from fulfilling their W dreams, draft night remains one of the most anticipated nights on the league calendar.
2023 was no exception, beginning with the Indiana Fever selecting South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston with the No. 1 pick. Regardless of whether or not teams made what we deemed to be the right decision, it’s always wonderful see collegiate stars hear their names called.
Now, excitement builds for the 2024 WNBA Draft, when the Fever will pick first for the second-straight year. The possible partnership between Boston and potential No. 1 pick Caitlin Clark promises to be one of 2024’s central stories.
Expansion news and blues
However, this long-anticipated expansion news came with additional expansion disappointment. Before WNBA Golden State officially was announced, reports emerged that the league was considering Denver as an expansion site. Yet, not Denver nor Toronto—which hosted a highly-successful exhibition game—emerged as the favored second city. With Portland on the precipice of an expansion announcement, the league reversed course, citing arena availability issues.
For now, only one team will debut in 2025, although it seems likely that 2024 will bring more expansion-related rumblings. Here, we’re still holding out hope for Toronto.