2:54 p.m. ET
Star level guard Courtney Vandersloot will signal with New York Liberty, she introduced Thursday, additional boosting the Liberty’s prospects of successful a franchise-first championship within the close to future.
The Liberty — the one surviving authentic franchise that hasn’t gained a title — offered the most important increase in free company, recruiting Vandersloot, signing Breanna Stewart and appearing for Jonquel Jones. Stewart and Jones gained the league’s MVP awards in 2018 and 2021, respectively, and are thought-about the highest three gamers on this planet.
#BREAK Courtney Vandersloot indicators with New York Liberty🗽✍🏼
— Courtney Vandersloot (@Sloot22) February 2, 2023
The small print of Vandersloot’s contract are nonetheless being negotiated whereas the Liberty determines how her and Stewart’s salaries match underneath the onerous cap, league supply Ramona Shelburne instructed ESPN.
Stewart, a two-time Finals MVP who presently performs alongside Vandersloot in Turkey’s Fenerbahçe staff, opted for New York on Wednesday and is anticipated to take considerably fewer to permit the Liberty so as to add Vandersloot, sources instructed ESPN.
Vandersloot, a four-time All-Star and five-time All-WNBA choice, is broadly considered the most effective level guards in league historical past. After turning into the primary WNBA participant to common double-digit assists in a season in 2020, she led Chicago Sky to a franchise-first championship in 2021.
Vandersloot had spent her total WNBA profession at Sky, who drafted her third-ranked from Gonzaga in 2011, earlier than asserting through Instagram Monday that she wouldn’t be returning to Chicago in 2023.
ESPN beforehand reported that Vandersloot was additionally contemplating Sky, Minnesota Lynx and Seattle Storm and that her free company resolution would play into Stewart’s. Vandersloot grew up in Kent, Wash., not too removed from Seattle, so becoming a member of the Storm would have been a homecoming of kinds for the purpose guard, whose jersey might be retired at Gonzaga later this month.
A supply near the scenario instructed ESPN that Vandersloot had a tough time saying no to the storm.
Vandersloot’s spouse and former Chicago teammate, sniper Allie Quigley, is sitting out the 2023 WNBA season however is just not formally retiring.
New York, who’ve been eradicated within the first spherical of the playoffs for the previous two seasons, can have their sights set on a championship in 2023 after main Vandersloot, Stewart and Jones to 2020 No. 1 draft choose Sabrina Ionescu encompass.
Although Ionescu can play level guard, she fared a lot better within the 2022 season — securing her first All-Star and All-WNBA nods — when she was moved to an off-ball position, with Crystal Dangerfield main the purpose . Vandersloot ought to then slot in effectively subsequent to Ionescu within the backcourt.
On paper, New York’s closest challenger seems to be defending champion Las Vegas, with the Aces returning not solely two-time MVP A’ja Wilson, 2022 Finals MVP Chelsea Grey and All-WNBA choose Kelsey Plum, but additionally two-time Signed MVP are Candace Parker and two-time champion Alysha Clark earlier this week.