The New York Liberty have become a superteam this offseason thanks to several additions during the free agency period. Their latest addition, French superstar Marine Johannès, caps off the Liberty’s roster at fifteen players for the upcoming training camp. Due to salary cap restraints, New York will be forced to carry only eleven players this season.
The moment y’all have been waiting for 🤩 Liberty guard @marinej5 has accepted her qualifying offer and re-signed with New York. Welcome back, MJ!!! 🗽 pic.twitter.com/zoIYMnhIvp— New York Liberty (@nyliberty) March 2, 2023
Free agency acquisitions
The first domino in their building block of a superteam was acquiring 2021 MVP Jonquel Jones from the Connecticut Sun. This trade would also bring over defensive specialists Kayla Thornton from the Dallas Wings. The second addition would be free agent and 2018 MVP Breanna Stewart signing a one-year deal. Shortly after that, New York signed free agent Courtney Vandersloot to a two-year after a twelve-year career with the Chicago Sky. Lastly, New York signed Epiphanny Prince to a training camp contract. Prince played with the Liberty from 2015-2018.
Please enjoy these moments of New Yorkers being so thrilled about their new squad …even in 4 degree weather. IT DOESNT MATTER! They brought the energyyyy pic.twitter.com/FhbZLs6WdT— Arielle (Ari) Chambers (@ariivory) February 9, 2023
Returnees for 2023
Han Xu signed her qualifying offer on Feb. 17. Along with Johannès, the Liberty brought back two top bench players, and fan favorites, from the 2022 season. Under contract for 2023 already were Sabrina Ionescu, Betnijah Laney, Stefanie Dolson, Jocelyn Willoughby, and DiDi Richards. The Liberty traded 2021 Rookie of the Year, Michaela Onyenwere, to the Phoenix Mercury on Feb. 11. Additionally, the Liberty signed two 2022 draftees in Nyara Sabally(5th pick) and Sika Koné (29th pick). For the 2023 draft, the New York Liberty holds only the 30th overall pick.
Liberty center @hanxu_521 has accepted her qualifying offer and re-signed with New York. Welcome back, Han! 🗽 pic.twitter.com/2ECgJUi2Jw— New York Liberty (@nyliberty) February 17, 2023
Salary cap squeeze
Unfortunately, with the additions of several MVPs, the Liberty are faced with a very tight salary cap crunch. As listed below in detail, New York can only carry eleven players come the regular season. Training camp can top off with 15 players. They currently have eight players under a protected contract. This means the player can not be waived without their salary counting towards.
The remaining three roster spots likely come down to numbers pinching. Realistically, only one of Prince or Sabally can be retained to fit under the salary cap. Johannès, despite likely missing several games due to Eurobasket in June, would be a lock for the tenth spot. The last spot should end up going to Han Xu, who saw tremendous improvement in the 2022 season.
Sadly, this leaves out Prince, Richards, Koné, and their third-round pick in 2023. However, there’s a possibility that Prince or Richards will remain on the team if the Liberty can make a trade of Willoughby. Trading Willoughby’s protected contract would enable New York to keep an additional guard. Prince ending her career in New York would seem fitting. This would also allow the Liberty to have an extra guard while Johannès is off with her overseas commitments.
SALARY CAP BREAKDOWN
Jonquel Jones ($211,150)*
Betnijah Laney ($201, 984)*
Courtney Vandersloot ($189,000)*
Breanna Stewart ($175,000)*
Stefanie Dolson ($160,000)*
Kayla Thornton ($109,716)*
Sabrina Ionescu ($86,701)*
TOTAL: $1,409,111 (+11,389)
Epiphanny Prince ($74,305)
DiDi Richards ($69,053)
Third round pick($62,285)
* guaranteed/protected contract
Salary cap information is provided by Her Hoop Stats.
The Liberty kick off their 2023 season on May 19 against the Washington Mystics. Their home opener is Sunday, May 21, against the Indiana Fever.
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