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2023 WNBA Free Agency: Dallas Wings should keep Marina Mabrey, Teaira McCowan

Twenty-six-year-olds entering their fifth year in the WNBA, Marina Mabrey and Teaira McCowan have proven themselves worthy of major paydays. The Dallas Wings should be able to afford to keep both.

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Photo by Tim Heitman/NBAE via Getty Images

The Dallas Wings have been to the playoffs two years in a row and are looking to take that next step of advancing in the postseason. They have had some talent; it’s not surprising that they’ve found success. Now they have the chance to get even better during a critical offseason. New head coach Latricia Trammell has good experience as an assistant for the Los Angeles Sparks and was a great hire. If general manager Greg Bibb can give her a top-notch roster, the Wings will be in good shape.

By the numbers*

Free agents (type) (2022 average salary)

  • Isabelle Harrison (unrestricted) ($159,000)
  • Marina Mabrey (restricted) ($72,141)
  • Teaira McCowan (restricted) ($72,141)

Total average salary of free agents: $303,282

Total team salary: $1,056,804

Cap space: $363,696


Rumor has it that the Wings are going to trade Allisha Gray this offseason.

Let’s also assume the Wings don’t bring back Isabelle Harrison, who has complained about playing time and play calls. Vickie Johnson is no longer head coach, but the same players who Harrison competed with for playing time (Kayla Thornton, Satou Sabally and Teaira McCowan) are likely to return. And let’s also say the team cuts Jasmine Dickey, a third-round pick who didn’t do much as a rookie.

I think the Wings can pay both Mabrey and McCowan under the max and keep them. They are both restricted free agents so Dallas just has to match other teams’ offers. Mabrey is a streaky scorer with big-game potential but isn’t quite a superstar. McCowan had a really good stretch last year, but teams likely want to see her do it for a full season.

Mabrey could be an All-Star one day and has already nearly made the game, and McCowan’s ceiling as a 6-foot-7 player is sky-high. So I could be underestimating them. But let’s say Mabrey gets paid $185,000 and McCowan gets paid $175,000. Mabrey is Arike Ogunbowale’s best friend and she’s put her heart and soul into the franchise for three seasons now. So the Wings want her around to keep Arike happy and will likely look at her three years of service and decide to pay her more than McCowan despite McCowan’s greater upside.

That would leave the Wings with this 10-player roster, roughly in order of importance and with projected salaries:

  • Arike Ogunbowale, starting SG ($234,936)
  • Satou Sabally, starting PF ($86,701)
  • Marina Mabrey, starting SF or second SG ($185,000)
  • Teaira McCowan, starting C ($175,000)
  • Kayla Thornton, starting SF or second SF ($109,716)
  • Awak Kuier, second PF ($78,586)
  • Tyasha Harris, starting PG ($83,194)
  • Veronica Burton, second PG ($70,609)
  • Charli Collier, second center ($78,586)
  • Bella Alarie, third center ($83,194)

Looking at Washington, Chicago, Connecticut and Atlanta, I think the Wings should want either Cheyenne Parker of the Dream or Myisha Hines-Allen of the Mystics. I think both would be fair exchanges for Allisha Gray.

Parker could come in and start at power forward and stretch the floor pretty well with her mid-range shot, which is something important to consider because McCowan won’t stretch the floor from the center position. Hines-Allen (6-foot-1) is undersized for a power forward, but has post-up skills and could play some 4 in a rotation with Sabally, Thornton and Kuier. To me, Sabally is a true 3, but she has the size to play, and the experience of playing, the 4. Hines-Allen has a well-rounded offensive game, can definitely stretch the floor and is the more exciting player between her and Parker, but has failed to replicate the 17 points per game she averaged in 2020.

I’m assuming the Wings will get their 11th player from the Gray trade. I intentionally put Mabrey and McCowan’s salaries where I did because it leaves right around the supermax remaining for the 11th player. Neither Parker (set to make $196,100) nor Hines-Allen (set to make $175,100) is going to make the supermax, but it just shows you that the Wings could pursue a superstar free agent if they were letting Gray go as a free agent instead of trading her. So let’s adjust Mabrey and McCowan’s salaries to around $200,000 and $195,000, respectively, if the team gets Parker and around $210,000 and $205,000 if it gets Hines-Allen.

The Wings could always keep their No. 11 pick over Charli Collier, Bella Alarie or Veronica Burton depending on what happens in training camp. But those players were all very high draft picks, so they’d be hard to part ways with.

* All salary numbers come from Her Hoop Stats