WNBA

Sun Have Questions to Answer in Free Agency

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Each week over the first three months of the offseason, we will look at what each team has in store for free agency. We will look at pending free agents and then consider who may be a logical target for them to bring in. This series will start in standings order for the teams that missed the postseason and then go in order of elimination when it comes to playoff teams. We have looked at the Minnesota Lynx, Seattle Storm, Dallas Wings, New York Liberty, Washington Mystics, Los Angeles Sparks, Atlanta Dream and Indiana Fever. Now we move into the number one seed from the regular season, the Connecticut Sun.

For most of the season, the Sun looked to be the best team in the league. They went on an astounding 14 game winning streak to end the season. After almost entirely sweeping awards season, the team flamed out in the semi-finals. So what are their next steps?

Pending Free Agents

We will start with the reserved free agents before digging into the two huge names on the list. Stephanie Jones appeared in 18 games this season, her first in the league. She recorded a total of 25 points, 21 rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block. While keeping her sister, the Most Improved Player Brionna Jones, happy is a nice idea, her place with the team is not secure. Beatrice Mompremier has played two seasons, getting limited run as well.

Natisha Hiedeman is also a reserved free agent this offseason and should be brought back undoubtedly. She knocked down 39.8 percent of her 3-point attempts this season on a career-high 4.0 attempts per game. As one of the blossoming role players coming off the bench, her place on this team seems to be growing increasingly from year to year.

Briann January is one of the leaders of the team, a defensive bulldog. She was named to the All-Defensive First Team this season, the fifth selection in her career. Outside of one of the most questionable reverse layups that fans have ever seen, January was one of the key driving forces behind the winning this season. While the roster space is tight, she should be considered a priority. Her defensive leadership is that important.

However, this ultimately all comes down to MVP Jonquel Jones. After missing the bubble season, she came back to the league as a true force of nature, averaging 19.4 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.3 blocks per game on shooting splits of .515/.362/.802. She made a clear statement that this should be her team moving forward. With the core available, the Sun could prevent any of these negotiations from going further. That simply begs one more important question.

The Plan Forward

Is Connecticut focused on Jonquel Jones or Alyssa Thomas as the face of the franchise moving forward? Thomas and DeWanna Bonner are locked for the next two and three seasons respectively at $200,000 plus per year contracts. Brionna Jones has one more year on her current deal before she is due for a raise. Jonquel is the best player in the group. However, a move has to be made to pay everyone and continue to field a full roster.

JJ should be brought back. Unfortunately, doing so will take up half of the team’s cap space the team. January, on the other hand, may have to look elsewhere. The Sun can use the money they save from paying her to bolster the bench for the long run. With four players already making at least $120,000 per year plus the impending mammoth contract for the reigning MVP, January appears to be the most likely cap casualty.

About Corey Rausch

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