WNBA windows, sliding — Curt Miller talks big Connecticut Sun win — Must-click women’s basketball links
The IX: Basketball Wednesday with Howard Megdal, Sept. 7, 2022
Curt Miller, the Connecticut Sun head coach and GM, has been talking all series long about his team’s championship window — how fast they can close, how quickly things can change in this league.
As if to illustrate the point, Tuesday night altered the trajectories of no fewer than three teams in the WNBA — three of the top four in this year’s standings, no less.
The Chicago Sky appeared ready to close out the Sun, return to the WNBA Finals, and perhaps complete the task so arduous — repeating as champions — that no one has done it since 2002, a bygone era back when Sue Bird was still an active player. (Too soon?)
But after a 104-80 loss, one in which Wade said his team had failed to match the intensity of Connecticut, the Sky could well be facing not only elimination, but dramatic changes.
Allie Quigley and Candace Parker are no sure things to return in 2023. Azurá Stevens is going to get paid somewhere, either in a max deal to replace Parker or elsewhere. Courtney Vandersloot will have suitors aplenty.
It could all end, and quickly.
But the same is true for Miller’s own team. Bri Jones is in the same boat as Stevens. The Sun cannot keep her at the price she will command on this market without trading another member of their core. This current version of the Sun will be dramatically different next season.
And yet: the continuity from both Connecticut and Chicago will be significant stronger than what’s happening in Seattle.
The Storm have two players under contract for 2023 right now — Jewell Loyd and Mercedes Russell. Loyd is a building block, while Russell’s prognosis is unknown after the talented big suffered a season-ending injury.
But everyone else is free to go. The team will not take the floor with Sue Bird in 2023. Breanna Stewart is a free agent who can sign anywhere she wants. The supporting cast was not enough to lift Stewart to a win on a night she scored 42 points. Don’t think that didn’t register with her.
I remember watching this Storm team figure out how to win, back in 2018, eventually capturing two titles over the past five years. No repeats, by the way — that is hard! Even the Minnesota Lynx of the 2010s, who won four WNBA titles, didn’t capture them consecutively.
Hear Miller’s answer below from the great Annie Costabile’s question on this. And know that whatever the reality is you think you know in the WNBA, well, it all can change, and quickly.
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