clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2024 WNBA Free Agency: Will the Connecticut Sun prioritize continuity?

Who’s in, who’s out, and what the Connecticut Sun’s roster situation looks like entering free agency. 

Connecticut Sun v New York Liberty
Will DeWanna Bonner be back with the Connecticut Sun?
Photo by Evan Yu/NBAE via Getty Images

The Connecticut Sun enter the 2024 free agency period on the heels of a winning season that fell short of a championship. This time, the Sun’s postseason run ended at the hands of the New York Liberty in the semifinals.

Connecticut will work to re-sign some of last year’s core players while also adding depth. The Sun have six players under contract next season—including MVP runner-up Alyssa Thomas—as well as four free agents. One of last year’s key rotation players, Tiffany Hayes, announced her retirement from the WNBA last month, so she is no longer in the mix.

The Sun’s free agency class is headlined by DeWanna Bonner, who led the team in scoring last season, and Brionna Jones, who was one of the team’s top performers before an Achilles tendon rupture ended her season in June. On Jan. 19, the Sun cored Brionna Jones, meaning that she was automatically offered a one-year, super-max contract (or the ability to negotiate a longer-term contract). Jones—the 2021 Most Improved Player—was one of the offseason’s top free agents.


Facts and figures*

Players under contract (contract status; 2024 salary)

  • Alyssa Thomas (protected veteran; $218,000)
  • Natisha Heideman (unprotected; $120,000)
  • Tyasha Harris (unprotected; $97,100)
  • DiJonai Carrington (unprotected rookie scale; $78,469)
  • Olivia Nelson-Ododa (unprotected; $71,124)
  • Leigha Brown (unprotected; $66,597)

Free agent (type; 2023 salary)

  • DeWanna Bonner (unrestricted; $224,870)
  • Brionna Jones (unrestricted; $208,000) [cored 1/19]
  • Rebecca Allen (unrestricted; $138,925)
  • Bernadett Határ (reserved free agent; $25,456) [QO extended 1/18]
  • Kianna Smith (reserved free agent; n/a) [QO extended 1/18]

Total average salary of free agents: $597,251

Total team salary: $651,290

Cap space: $811,910

2024 WNBA Draft picks (2024 salary)

  • Round 1, No. 10 ($70,344)
  • Round 2, No. 22 ($67,249)
  • Round 3, No. 34 ($64,154)

Analysis

Los Angeles Sparks v Connecticut Sun
Alyssa Thomas and DeWanna Bonner celebrate during a 2023 game. Will the duo once again share the court in Connecticut?
Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

Given that this team was just two wins away from a Finals appearance this fall, the Sun will likely try to retain much of last year’s core and run it back. Alyssa Thomas nearly averaged a triple double in 2023, putting up 15.5 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 7.9 assists per game. Any team she is on will have a chance to contend.

The Sun’s decision to core Brionna Jones signals a desire to run it back with the current group. Jones put up 15.9 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.8 steals in 31.7 minutes for the Sun before tearing her Achilles. Given the timeline of her injury, she’s unlikely to be available for the start of the 2024 season, but is expected to be a high-impact player when healthy.

Several rotation players also will be returning next season. Natisha Hiedeman, a reliable starting guard who averaged 8.5 points and 2.7 assists per game, will be back. Off the bench, Tyasha Harris, a backup guard who averaged about 17 minutes off the bench and scored 5.8 points per game, will be back. DiJonai Carrington (8.3 points in 17 minutes) and Olivia Nelson-Ododa (4.5 points, 3.7 rebounds in 15 minutes) also are under contract next season. Leigha Brown didn’t get much run as an end-of-bench player last year, but could get an extended opportunity this season.

The 2024 free agency class is not as flashy as initially anticipated since top free agents like Breanna Stewart, Jonquel Jones and Brittney Griner all are expected to remain with their teams. That being said, a core built around Thomas, DeWanna Bonner, Brionna Jones and Rebecca Allen is likely to remain very competitive. After such a significant roster overhaul last year, some continuity could be appealing for the Sun front office. And entering her 11th season in Connecticut, Thomas remains one of the top players in the league. Her fiancé, DeWanna Bonner, is unlikely to prefer another team in free agency.

The Sun will need to find a replacement for Tiffany Hayes, who averaged 12.1 points, 3 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 27 minutes for the Sun last season, and announced her retirement from the WNBA last month. The team has extended a qualifying offers to reserved free agents Kianna Smith, who was acquired by the Sun last offseason but did not play in the WNBA in 2023, and Bernadett Határ.


*Thanks to Her Hoop Stats for all salary numbers.