Inside the way WNBA free agency news breaks — Nneka Ogwumike talks — Must-click women’s basketball links

The IX: Basketball Wednesday with Howard Megdal, Feb. 1, 2023

Hello friends, and welcome to a very consequential Basketball Wednesday. I’m going to keep this one brief, and we’ll have plenty of analysis about the massive WNBA moves already done and still ahead, but I wanted to give you a peek inside how the free agency news breaks, at least from me.

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Sunday afternoon, I was at my older daughter’s violin concert when I received a text message letting me know something I’d heard was done had, in fact, been completed. For reasons of accuracy, I never report anything unless it is from two, independent sources with knowledge — exception made when it is one person with direct knowledge. (For instance, a team knows when it has signed Player X.) I also don’t report something if doing it will get a particular source in trouble — fortunately, as front offices get bigger, there’s more plausible deniability for folks among the teams who still don’t realize when news leaks early, then gets officially released by the team, that’s actually double the attention paid to it. (Most people in the league get this now, which is both great and a quantum leap over even five years ago.)

In this case, second source made it clear a thing I was chasing had happened, and so I went with it, tweeting it out just ahead of the lights dimming. I often struggle with this work/life balance, and I quickly made a vow to myself: I’d continue reporting on the other moves that were likely impacted by this one — and continue pushing on the places I thought could be completed soon, or I’d already heard it in one place but not two, but I wouldn’t do so during the music itself. Then, it got busier, so: no texting only during pieces my daughter played.

That all worked out pretty well. The machinery at The Next never stops, so my tweets set off the content machine for instant news stories from our breaking news team and analysis from our team of dedicated beat reporters, which is always glorious to see in action.

I met my daughter backstage after it was over and the two of us went to a nearby Indian restaurant, her choice. It was time to focus on her.

Ah, but just as the menus arrived, so did one final confirmation. I tweeted it out — she knows the drill, I even let her push the button on publishing certain news.

And then I put my phone away and enjoyed her company, along with some Chicken Saag.

More to come today. It’s complicated. And I wouldn’t trade it all for anything in the world.

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This week in women’s basketball

Debbie Antonelli catches up with Missouri State head coach Beth Cunningham.


Alexa Philippou went to Rocky Top.

Marissa Sisk has been great on the ACC all season.

Caution from Megan Gauer on Ohio State.

Justin Carter catches you up on the Big 12.

Always check out what Carolyn Smalls is doing.

Five at The IX: Nneka Ogwumike

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: Addie Parker, @addie_parker, The IX
Fridays: Hockey
By: @TheIceGarden, The Ice Garden
Saturdays: Gymnastics
By: Lela Moore, @runlelarun, Freelance Writer

Written by Howard Megdal

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