The IX: Basketball Wednesday with Howard Megdal, January 27, 2021

Buckle up — Marianne Stanley talks WNBA free agency, Fever — Must-click women's basketball links

(Hi! Howard Megdal here. The IX helps build the necessary infrastructure for women’s sports media. By connecting these worlds, it gives women’s sports the networking boost men’s sports can take for granted.

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Buckle up

So yesterday was fun. Over at The Next, we reported a lot of news. A lot. A lot.

(A reminder of why both The IX and The Next exist: The IX eliminates the silo effect between different women’s sports, empowering vital voices, bringing those who follow one or more into a larger network of women’s sports coverage, here and elsewhere, that men’s sports has taken for granted for decades. The Next is an example of how we can cover these sports 24/7/365 with a diverse newsroom of young talent. They go hand-in-hand to address the dual inequalities of coverage and the diversity of the folks doing it. Anyhow, there’s your elevator pitch for subscribing to both, since both matter a lot.)

But my favorite part was this comment from a WNBA GM: according to this GM’s count, as many as eight big free agents could be on the move.

Let’s put that in context, thanks to the lovely people at Basketball-Reference.com: nine of the top 21 players in win shares from 2020 are either free agents or cored players. The identity of entire teams hang in the balance.

What is Los Angeles without Candace Parker and Chelsea Gray? How do we think of Seattle if Alysha Clark and Natasha Howard go elsewhere? And what will Phoenix do with Brittney Griner, who sounds like she doesn’t want to play anywhere else, after the Mercury made it clear she is very available?

Meanwhile, teams like New York, Dallas and Indiana have a chance to fundamentally reshape their identities. Playoff contenders like Minnesota and Chicago can turn into title contenders if they win various free agent sweepstakes. It is not an overstatement to say that how we think of the entire league’s pecking order could change in less than a week.

That’s exciting! It is long overdue. It deserves to be covered, and it allows for those eager to be 12-months-a-year WNBA fans a chance to do so, just like NBA fans and, before MLB teams decided to stop signing players, baseball as well.

This is also, of course, a way to address the gap in coverage, which occurs in many ways beyond just the simple “Editor A sends Reporter B to the men’s game over the women’s game”. Months of silence in an offseason, compared to the constant MLB hot stove or NBA free agency coverage, can quickly tilt the playing field. So this matters on a basic question of fairness, too.

So don’t feel guilty about being here for the drama. You can open that bag of popcorn and do it in the name of equality.


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Introducing The Next: A basketball newsroom brought to you by The IX. 24/7/365 women’s basketball coverage, written, edited and photographed by our young, diverse staff, dedicated to breaking news, analysis, historical deep dives and projections about the game we love.

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I joined Stacy Paetz to talk Sparks and WNBA.

Alexa Philippou joined Around The Rim.

Kerith Burke has a must-read from other women in coaching on Becky Hammon’s milestone.

Here’s Michelle Smith on Endyia Rogers.

Madeline Kenney looks at what the Chicago Sky need to do next.

Aari McDonald’s story is a good one.

Jacqueline LeBlanc has the definitive women’s basketball rundown of the Bernie Sanders meme.

Aaron Barzilai and Jacob Mox attempt to throw a dollar value on a WNBA franchise, in case, you know, anybody is selling.

Good stuff here on Andra Espinoza-Hunter.

Ben Dull explains the WNBA salary cap as it relates to max contracts, with examples.

A’ja Wilson joined the WInsidr show.

Rachel Galligan takes you through the greatest dunks in women’s basketball history.

Sigh. Even in 2021.

And don’t miss this event at the Women’s Sports Foundation on February 3.


Tweet of the Week


Five at The IX: Marianne Stanley, Indiana Fever head coach

(Marianne spoke to us earlier this month on a range of topics. Click on her to hear it all!)


Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon Freelance Tennis Writer
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal The Next
Thursdays: Golf
By Sarah Kellam @sarahkellam, The IX
Fridays: Hockey
By: Erica Ayala, @ELindsay08 NWHL Broadcaster

Written by Howard Megdal

Howard is the founder of The Next and editor-in-chief.