Barclays Center is already home to one of the NBA’s biggest stars, but the New York Liberty could be on the verge of luring one of the WNBA’s biggest stars to Brooklyn.
Free agent Breanna Stewart has narrowed down her choices to the Liberty and Seattle Strom, according to multiple reports on Sunday. The Liberty had been expected to make a very strong push for the Syracuse, N.Y. native and former UConn Huskies star to head to the Big Apple.
Stewart had spent the first six years of her career with the Storm, where she won two WNBA titles and was named the league MVP in 2018. Now 28, Stewart hit the open in the prime of her career after averaging 20.3 points and 8.6 rebounds during her time in Seattle.
WNBA free agency officially begins on Wednesday and it had been reported by ESPN earlier that Stewart had wanted to meet with Storm, Liberty, Minnesota Lynx and Washington Mystics. It’s unknown when Stewart would make her final decision.
The Liberty has plenty to offer in terms of trying to convince Stewart to come to Brooklyn. They already have rise star Sabrina Ionescu on their roster and acquired Jonquel Jones in a blockbuster three-team trade earlier this month.
Off the court, the Liberty has all the modern amenities a player could ask for at Barclays Center and owners Joe and Clara Wu Tsai have been at the forefront to try and amend the WNBA rules in regards to private air travel for teams. The Liberty were heavily penalized for flying their players on charter flights during the 2021 season.
It’s said that charter flights were going to be a big issue for Stewart as she navigated the free agency process. As it stands, all WNBA are required to fly commercially except for certain circumstances.
The Liberty has put on a full-court press when its come to recruiting Stewart this offseason. Clara Wu Tsai, head coach Sandy Brondello, general manager Jonathan Kolb and assistant GM Ohemaa Nyanin all made the trip to Istanbul to speak with Stewart.
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Kolb has also not been shy about how aggressive they plan to be during free agency.
“We’re gonna be really aggressive. I think we’re hellbent on bringing a championship,” Kolb said during the introductory press conference for Jones. “It’s what we said from 2019 and we’re gonna say it every single year. I think we’ve proven that we are willing to be aggressive and we will continue to do that. We are very excited at the opportunity to add talent and we’ll see how this plays out over the next few weeks.”
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