As the WNBA nears its negotiation period for free agency, a Friday bomb was dropped just before the fun could begin. Sue Bird shared an Instagram post announcing her return to the W for her 19th season.
Under league rules, Bird and Seattle can’t officially begin negotiations until January 15th and a contract can’t be signed until February 1st. Tampering is considered a violation of these rules. Seattle removed the “BIRD IS BACK”, graphic, and “Run it Back” posts from its official Twitter account. It is not a surprise. Bird clearly stated her intentions when she captioned her Instagram photo with yellow and green colored hearts emojis.
ONE. MORE. YEAR.
Sue Bird is coming back for her 19th season in the WNBA. pic.twitter.com/f1uS1ZpTwC
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 7, 2022
Bird’s anticipated 19th go-around with the Storm will be welcomed by both fans and an organization pursuing a fifth WNBA championship. Her decorated career includes four WNBA Championships, 12 All-Star appearances, five All-WNBA First Team selections, three All-WNBA Second Team selections, five Olympic gold medals, and she’s the all-time WNBA assists leader.
However, Bird’s return may make for a more exciting period of free agency across the league.
41-year-old SUE BIRD is coming back for a 19th WNBA season!
Most Career Assists
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) January 7, 2022
The Storm currently have eight players from their 2021 roster entering free agency — four restricted and four unrestricted. Jewell Loyd and Breanna Stewart are two of the most highly paid unrestricted agents in the entire W. Seattle will need to pay top dollar to keep them from leaving. It’s possible, though it will be more difficult with Bird’s return. The Storm wouldn’t have much money to add quality players if they had all three players back.
Depending on how free agency is handled, there may be more for the rest. Seattle retains its “Big 3”, while the best free agents stay away from Seattle. Or one of the three leaves Seattle, and the free agency period goes wild. The Storm and their free agents will need to make some tough decisions.
Seattle is now eligible for free agency to prepare for the next WNBA championship. It’s currently +450 at Tipico Sportsbook to win in 2022, but those may be changing in the next few weeks as free agency unfolds.
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