The Dallas Wings were an exciting team that lost a lot of close games early last season, then won four of five in a stretch that included a upset of the defending champion Storm. They haven’t stayed that hot all season, but easily made the playoffs (at least compared to the Liberty) as the No. 7 seed.
Some pre-season thought Dallas had a shot at making the playoffs because Charlie Collier and Avak Kool received the first two picks in the draft. However, Collier and Quill didn’t contribute much, instead it was Marina Marbury’s progress and occasional monster performance and vets Alyssa Gray, Isabelle Harrison and Kayla Thornton’s Stability guided the team to success. Of course, Arike Ogunbowale and Satou Sabally and the team’s two All-Stars were involved.
In 2022 free agency, Dallas has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pick a very good player to play alongside its young core.
Free Agent (Type) (Average Salary)
Total Average Free Agent Salary: $0
Total team salary (including Astou Ndour-Fall buyout): $1,363,828
Cap space: $15,372
Currently, the Wings have 13 players signed. Cutting just one won’t do them much good, because assuming that’s Luisa Geiselsöder, they’ll have $78,146 in unused cap space. If they cut a second player outside of Geiselöder, they’d have $146,698 to $151,357 (depending on whether they cut Chelsea Dungey or Bella Alari) to bring in a big-name free agent. Tyasha Harris seems untouchable, Charli Collier and Awak Kuier, the No. 1 and No. 2 picks in last year’s draft, respectively. Alarie is a great center/forward and Dungee is a great scorer who was the 5th pick in last year’s draft (like Alarie did in 2020), but is almost in 2021 No playing time.
Dallas also has two first-round picks (Nos. 4 and 6). It could go after former star Shakira Austin (Ole Miss), Naz Hilmon (Michigan) and/or Elissa Cunane (North Carolina), who are expected to be in 3-5 ESPNof mock draft, replace Alarie or pursue a phenomenal scorer like Ashley Joens (Iowa State) to replace Dungee. They’ll have to cut both Alarie and Dungee to keep one of the draft picks, and in addition to keeping those two picks, they’ll have to cut either Harris, Collier or Kuier.
I don’t know that Hillmon, who ESPN Wings currently sits at No. 4 and deserves to stay above Alarie and Dungee when all three are relatively unproven. Hillmon is undersized for a 6-foot-2 WNBA big man. If Austin (6’5″) somehow surpasses the dream at the 3, getting Austin (6’5″) will be another story. I’ll probably keep her and cut Alarie and Dungee. Of course, everyone will play in training camp.
As mentioned above, regardless of who the Wings keep for their No. 10 and No. 11 players, they’ll have $146,698 to $151,357 to buy in free agency. I think Tiffany Hayes, Diamond DeShields or Myisha Hines-Allen would be the best options in this salary range.
Hayes ($119,780 in 2021) could cost more than $151,357 — if she hadn’t been injured while playing, she would have made the All-Star Game last year. Hines-Allen ($70,040 in 2021) will probably cost more, too, and probably should — she made the All-WNBA Second Team in wbble. But Hines-Allen is still a year away from that incredible season, so the Wings might be able to pay her a little less. DeShields ($70,040 in 2021) even higher remove Since her 2019 All-Star season, many have underestimated her. She is the most likely, and could be priced below $146,698.
Hines-Allen (25) and DeShields (26) both have superstar potential and could make Wings even better. Meanwhile, Hayes (31) still has her bad moves that could have big repercussions as well. Any one of those players is a huge bonus for a team that made the playoffs last year, and the team will improve a lot thanks to having young players.
In my opinion, the Kia Nurse ($70,040 in 2021) and Elizabeth Williams ($119,000 in 2021) are both a notch below the Hines-Allen, DeShields, and Hayes, but they’re certainly options too. Sylvia Fowles is tempting, but probably too expensive despite only making $117,894 last year. Jessica Brayland ($145,000 in 2021) is in the pay range to bring veteran leadership to a young team, but a bit pricey for her age (33).
* All salary figures are from her basketball stats