New York Liberty at odds with WNBA after being forced to move Commissioner’s Cup championship game from Barclays Center: Source

Liberty Sun
(AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

The New York Liberty are at odds with the WNBA and commissioner Cathy Engelbert after being forced to move the Commissioner’s Cup championship game against the Minnesota Lynx from their homecourt at Barclays Center in Brooklyn to UBS Arena at the Queens/Nassau County border. 

According to a press release from the league, the game scheduled for June 25 was moved because of the NBA Draft, which begins the following night. However, a source with close knowledge of the situation has informed amNewYork that the Liberty informed the WNBA in December that if they make the championship game, that June 25 date would not work.

Per the the source, the WNBA “ignored,” the Liberty’s inquiry at the time.

For a second consecutive season, New York made the in-season Commissioner’s Cup title game after going 5-0 and will look to repeat as champions, earning homecourt advantage by going 5-0 in tournament play and holding a better overall regular-season win percentage in games through June 13 (12-2, .846) than the Lynx. 

Cathy Engelbert WNBA
WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

When the Liberty re-approached the league about the scheduling conflict at Barclays Center earlier this month, Engelbert told the organization that they would instead have to play Minnesota despite earning home-court advantage before UBS Arena emerged as a legitimate option to keep the game local.

As an alternative, New York suggested that they re-designate its July 2 regular-season matchup against the Lynx at Barclays Center as the tournament’s championship game, keeping homecourt advantage intact and eliminating the need to play an extra game.

Rather than allow New York to have a final say in the decision, the league went to the Lynx, which opted to play the game on its originally scheduled date, allowing them to avoid the Barclays Center, per the source.

Earlier on Monday, Liberty CEO Keia Clarke released a statement in the WNBA’s release: “We are excited for the opportunity to defend our Commissioner’s Cup title in New York, and we appreciate our fans’ unwavering support of our team. While we wish we could have brought this game to our fans in our home arena, we are grateful to UBS Arena for accommodating us and providing a world-class venue in New York.”

The winner of the in-season tournament’s championship game will receive a $500,000 cash prize pool with an additional $120,000 in cryptocurrency coming from the game’s sponsor, Coinbase, with $5,000 guaranteed for each player.

For more on the Liberty, visit AMNY.com