SEATTLE STORM

Breanna Stewart choices reportedly down to Seattle Storm, NY Liberty

Jan 29, 2023, 4:20 PM | Updated: Feb 1, 2023, 10:00 am

Seattle Storm Breanna Stewart...

Breanna Stewart of Seattle and Natasha Howard of New York battle for the ball on May 27, 2022. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The question of whether Breanna Stewart will continue her career with the Seattle Storm may soon be answered.

The two-time WNBA champion and 2018 league MVP has narrowed her choices in free agency down to the Storm and New York Liberty, ESPN reported Sunday.

Stewart, 28, is considered the biggest name available in the WNBA this offseason, and the 6-foot-4 forward’s free agency could also end up being a pivotal moment for the league. As one of the biggest stars in women’s basketball, Stewart could help leverage for changes championed by players.

The most notable fight regards charter flights, something that has come into focus following Phoenix star Brittney Griner’s return to America. According to ESPN, there is an assumption Griner will need to travel privately due to security concerns after she was brought back to the country in a prisoner exchange following months in a Russian prison, a result of authorities finding a small amount of hashish oil in her luggage.

Stewart has shared her support for the league to charter flights online, as well as made it a “key factor” in her free agency, per ESPN.

As for where Stewart will land, the Liberty has long been seen as the Storm’s biggest competition for her services. A native of Syracuse, N.Y., Stewart starred in college at UConn, which is roughly 2 1/2 hours outside of New York City.

There were originally four teams that Stewart was tied to when free agency started: Seattle, New York, the Minnesota Lynx and Washington Mystics.

Stewart tied her career-high mark in points per game with 21.8 in 2022. She also averaged 7.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.6 steals, 0.9 blocks and two 3-pointers per game while shooting 47.2% from the field and 37.9% from 3-point range. Seattle went 22-14 in the regular season and was eliminated in the semifinals by the eventual champions, the Las Vegas Aces.

The Storm picked Stewart with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 WNBA Draft, and she teamed up with Sue Bird, Jewell Loyd and others to help Seattle win championships in 2018 and 2020.

The 2023 season will be the Storm’s first since the retirement of Bird, one of the best players in the history of the league. Bird joined Seattle in 2002, the team’s third in existence.

The first big shoe to drop in WNBA free agency came Saturday when Candace Parker reportedly chose to leave the Chicago Sky for the Aces.

Another big name still available in free agency is All-Star point guard Courtney Vandersloot, a former star in college at Gonzaga and native of Kent, Wash. The 33-year-old Vandersloot has spent each of her 12 seasons in the WNBA with Chicago.

Previously: Breanna Stewart, Vandersloot among top WNBA free agents

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