The Las Vegas Aces will approach free-agency with one thing in mind; defending their WNBA Championship. There won’t be a ton of work or changes needed to make this happen, as their core players are all under contract including MVP/DPOY A’ja Wilson, All-Stars Kelsey Plum, Dearica Hamby, Jackie Young, and WNBA Finals MVP Chelsea Gray. With only a few free-agent decisions to make, will the Aces run it back or try and mix things up for sake of increased depth or playmaking? Are they good enough as is to repeat as WNBA champs?
By the numbers*
Free agents (type) (2022 average salary)
- Sydney Colson (unrestricted) ($72,141)
- Theresa Plaisance (unrestricted) ($72,141)
- Kiah Stokes (unrestricted) ($115,000)
Total average salary of free agents: $259,282
Total team salary: $1,281,696
Cap space: $138,804
The biggest question that the Aces will have to answer in free agency is probably the one surrounding Kiah Stokes. Stokes is the Aces most valuable free agent, even considering Syd Colson’s incredible Instagram stories and general social media presence. After an injury to Dearica Hamby in the final week of the regular season, Stokes stepped up into a starting role and helped the Aces on their championship run. She started every game of the playoffs, averaging 3.7 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, shooting 49 percent from the floor. The Aces didn’t need her to do anything flashy, and she came in and filled a role that helped her team win a championship.
With all of that being said, is Kiah Stokes expendable to the Aces? She will be turning 30 this spring which would make her the third oldest player on the team. She could possibly get a bigger contract on a different team, one that is looking for some solid veteran depth. Do the Aces prioritize her enough to match any higher offer? Could the Aces look elsewhere if they want to get some more scoring depth? There are several free agents in this year’s class that are intriguing options at relatively similar cost to what the Aces were paying Stokes in 2022 ($115K). Brionna Jones, Chiney Ogwumike, Brittney Sykes, Jordin Canada, Sophie Cunningham and Lexie Brown are all players that had similar salary to Stokes last season, and whom all have different play styles if the Aces wanted to switch things up a bit.
It will be interesting to see how the Aces handle this free agency period, and if they bring in any new faces. If there are any veteran free agents out there looking to hitch a ride to a WNBA championship, it’s hard to find a better ride than the Las Vegas Aces in 2023.