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Core Players in 2021

 
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Guess how many teams use their core designation in 2021!
None
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
1
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
2
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
3
16%
 16%  [ 2 ]
4
16%
 16%  [ 2 ]
5
25%
 25%  [ 3 ]
6 or more
41%
 41%  [ 5 ]
Total Votes : 12

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Stormeo



Joined: 14 Jul 2019
Posts: 2229
Location: Seattle, WA


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PostPosted: 10/07/20 2:39 am    ::: Core Players in 2021 Reply Reply with quote

I first have to say, speculating on this very subject so far in advance could not have been made possible without Richyyy and his sheer dedication to his in-depth League research. You can find his 2021 Free Agency list here. You can find his Salary Cap Spreadsheets for each team here, but each team's page will be individually linked below. We rebkellians and other followers of herhoopstats couldn’t be more grateful! Very Happy

With that said, we can start speculating on which teams core somebody in 2021 – where perhaps it has never been harder to predict due to the substantially heightened trickiness of navigating the new salary range. Despite only three teams coring someone last season (three players of high quality, at that), there are so many free agents this year, so it’s still a bit hard to say how teams will value players this season.

Why we could see fewer teams core someone this year: Teams might just not have – or want to risk giving up – the cap flexibility to potentially devote the maximum amount of money on one player (should they demand it and proceed to accept no less) both this season and in the following seasons, should the cored player sign a multi-year deal.

Why we could see more teams core someone this year: Teams with several solid – but not elite – unsigned players from their 2020 roster may risk coring and then overpaying someone in order to retain them, accepting that they won’t be able to re-sign everyone they want to, so they target who they view as their most important unsigned player, effectively letting go of some of their other 'lesser' free agents.

By the way, this poll is set to expire on January 14, which is the last day a team can core a player (the period to core a player or make qualifying offers to whom it applies runs from Jan. 1 to Jan. 14. Thanks again, Richyyy!). Phoenix cannot core anyone in 2021, due to the designation being carried over on Griner’s contract from the multi-year supermaxer she signed during the previous free agency. But every other team in 2021 can. I divided Richyyy’s free agency list by team, for reference. Should a team use its core designation on someone, who is that player most likely to be? Let’s take a look.

Notes: The 2021 maximum value aka supermax for a player who would be re-signing with their previous team is $221,450. All players listed as best candidates are UFAs.

Atlanta: Salary Cap Spreadsheet
Best candidate: Betnijah Laney – 5 years of experience
2020’s Most Improved Player unexpectedly went from below-the-bar to a bit of a star. How she follows up her award-winning campaign of a season given all of her previous seasons being lackluster is enough of a question mark that the Dream probably won’t haphazardly core-commit to her like that. She has publicly said she wants to re-sign, fwiw.
Odds that Atlanta uses its core designation: Unlikely

Chicago: Salary Cap Spreadsheet
Best candidate: Cheyenne Parker – 6 years of experience
As much as the Sky will need to keep a player like Parker for any future championship runs with this group (as Richyyy noted here), they realistically won’t core her to keep her. It's highly likely both the Sky and Parker want a multiyear deal; coring her and signing her to a multiyear deal jeopardizes the Sky's ability to core a number of better core-player candidates in 2022. And like Laney with Atlanta, Parker has voiced her desire to re-sign, fwiw. The core decision aside, the main concern is finding the money for her.
Odds that Chicago uses its core designation: Unlikely

Connecticut: Salary Cap Spreadsheet
Best candidate: Alyssa Thomas – 7 years of experience
It’s plain & simple: the Sun need to re-sign the anchor of the team (on both sides of the ball). Though the Sun need to manage their cap situation carefully with the several unsigned players they have, any moves need to start with re-signing Alyssa Thomas and figuring out the rest thereafter.
Odds that Connecticut uses its core designation: Likely

Dallas: Salary Cap Spreadsheet
Best candidate: N/A
Dallas’ only free agent appears to be Allisha Gray, who is already a RFA. The only legitimate reason they’d use the core designation on this role player (though she’s very solid for a role player) is if they don’t want her negotiating at all with other teams – which would seem unusual & unnecessary, especially if they want to re-sign her to a multi-year deal.
Odds that Dallas uses its core designation: Highly unlikely

Indiana: Salary Cap Spreadsheet
Best candidate: Erica Wheeler – 5 years of experience
Even while the position of point guard is arguably the most crucial one, Wheeler doesn’t seem good enough to be considered for a potential supermax. Still, the Fever do have cap space this year, and a few other unsigned players of which they might want to seek control of someone in advance of free agency. Too, if Allemand skips 2021 due to competing for Belgium in the Olympics (but comes back in 2022), the Fever could be okay with giving Wheeler the one-year supermax standard in a weird way of trying her out to see if she’d be able to run Marianne Stanley’s system effectively on the court.
Odds that Indiana uses its core designation: Somewhat unlikely

Las Vegas: Salary Cap Spreadsheet
Best candidate: Liz Cambage – 4 years of experience
Even if she declares that she’s forever done with the WNBA between now and free agency, I just don’t think the Aces take any chances here. Assuming she’s at most non-committal, I highly doubt the Aces risk letting her walk & sign with LA like she’s always wanted (or whomever). Even still, Kayla McBride is also a dark-horse candidate to be cored.
Odds that Las Vegas uses its core designation: Likely

Los Angeles: Salary Cap Spreadsheet
Best candidates: Chelsea Gray – 6 years of experience; Nneka Ogwumike – 9 years of experience
There could’ve even been three roughly equal candidates for this distinction had Candace Parker still been eligible to be cored. As it is, there are still two. Gray might show some loyalty and take a ‘hometown’ discount (she’s from the Bay area so it’s somewhat accurate to use that term). Although maybe she recognizes that she’s arguably the most important to re-sign, since: A) she’s younger than Ogwumike, B) she’s the team’s showrunner as the starting point guard, and C) she has been on a different team before, so she could be fine with moving again. On Ogwumike’s side, her desire to stay in LA could depend on if her sister Chiney continues her own playing career in LA or cuts it short due to her growing analyst career. Otherwise, the eldest Ogwumike would be able to fit right in on other teams that need a post upgrade. Not to mention: whichever players are willing to stay would have to approve of Derek Fisher running the show as both head coach & GM. There potentially may be enough moving pieces out of LA (soooo many free agents) where I can’t see LA not using their core designation due to all the uncertainty, in order to gain control of somebody.
Odds that Los Angeles uses its core designation: Likely

Minnesota: Salary Cap Spreadsheet
Best candidate: N/A
The only highly valuable unsigned player on the Lynx is Maya Moore, but because her contract expired while she was inactive, Minnesota retains her rights anyway. No true Lynx free agent here comes close to having core-worthy value.
Odds that Minnesota uses its core designation: Highly unlikely

New York: Salary Cap Spreadsheet
Best candidate: Amanda Zahui B. – 6 years of experience
The Liberty can afford to core Zahui B. and sign her to the one-year supermax, but them having already re-signed Kiah Stokes for next season makes it seem unlikely that they’d bring Zahui B. back, fully retaining the least talented post group in the League. However, if they really wanted to spice things up, they could core Zahui B. with the intention of trading her in free agency, but also be content with re-signing her should any deals fall through. Though it’s not the money part that would be the concern – it’s ultimately both if the decision-makers want her back, and if she wants to come back.
Odds that New York uses its core designation: Somewhat unlikely

Phoenix: Salary Cap Spreadsheet
N/A. They cannot core anyone in 2021.

Seattle: Salary Cap Spreadsheet
Best candidate: Natasha Howard – 7 years of experience
Sue Bird won’t be cored at this point (has she ever been? Shocked ). Clark probably won’t be cored either, since the defensive specialist has never taken on a lead role within the offense – though it’s no secret how vital of a piece she is for the contending Storm on both sides of the ball. By eliminating both Bird and Clark as possibilities – albeit hesitantly – that leaves Howard, whose value will be a hot topic throughout the next several months. It’s going to come down to how much more the Storm weigh this past season than the previous two seasons when considering her future value. This past season was her worst – or should we say quietest – season with the Storm. She was a superstar in 2019, playing without Breanna Stewart next to her in the post. But Howard has yet to have a season playing with Stewart where she looks like more than a top-class role player. Still, the Storm have now won the Finals in the two seasons that Stewart and Howard (and Bird, and Loyd, and Clark) were the starters. Now if Howard’s priority is getting a supermax deal, it really shouldn’t be coming from this team since there’s no indication she’ll play like she did in 2019 – not with Stewart healthy and leading the way. But like Clark, Howard has high intangible value as it relates to the Storm’s success. And unlike Clark, Howard is used to changing teams. Not to mention: teams will be courting the Storm’s free agents hard in order to break them up as best as they can. So with all that said, I can envision the Storm giving her a supermax deal anyway and figuring the rest out later (and there’s a decent amount to figure out after 2021).
Odds that Seattle uses its core designation: Somewhat likely

Washington: Salary Cap Spreadsheet
Best candidate: Emma Meesseman – 7 years of experience
Washington will be strapped for cash in 2021, so they ought not to risk committing the max sum of money to any one person. The only way they core someone is if Meesseman not only openly wants to play in 2021 but also drops hints that she wants to consider signing elsewhere – or just doesn’t tip her hand either way, making Thibault squirm. There’s no indication whatsoever that that’ll be the case… but we’ll see. And even if Tina Charles didn’t already verbally commit to re-signing with the Mystics, she is no longer eligible to be cored.
Odds that Washington uses its core designation: Unlikely



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Last edited by Stormeo on 01/01/21 1:56 pm; edited 1 time in total
Stormeo



Joined: 14 Jul 2019
Posts: 2229
Location: Seattle, WA


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PostPosted: 01/01/21 2:22 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Happy New Year! Bumping this, as it is now January 1st, so teams can officially use their core designation on a free agent of theirs if they wish. They have until the end of January 14th to do so; maybe we'll even find out sooner. Teams can then begin giving out qualifying offers and negotiating with unsigned players starting the 15th, so think of the next two weeks as pre-pre-free agency. Laughing Free agency opens up one month from today. But voting in this poll ends in t-minus two weeks.



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Last edited by Stormeo on 01/01/21 2:31 pm; edited 2 times in total
Randy



Joined: 08 Oct 2011
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PostPosted: 01/01/21 11:36 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Good analysis - can't say I disagree with any of it. I could possibly see Dream coring Laney if the owner's politics make the team radioactive to FA's. Laney has said she wants to come back, but money talks and that Loeffler has gone up several notches on the Sterling Scale since then.

One problem the Storm have is that Loyd and Steward are out contract after this season, so they could face a crunch in 2022 if they overpay in 2021. If Bird were to retire after this season that might be less of a problem though. If they use of they use the core on Howard it better be for only one year.



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Richyyy



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PostPosted: 01/01/21 11:48 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Randy wrote:
One problem the Storm have is that Loyd and Steward are out contract after this season, so they could face a crunch in 2022 if they overpay in 2021. If Bird were to retire after this season that might be less of a problem though. If they use of they use the core on Howard it better be for only one year.

I think they use it, try to sign the other to extensions during the 2021 season - Stewart might sign, Loyd won't because of the 3% rule - and then you trade Howard if you decide you need the spot to core someone else. She'd have to be very poor in 2021 to be untradable, even on a supermax contract.



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Bob Lamm



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PostPosted: 01/01/21 7:03 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Thank you, Richyyy, for this very valuable contribution to our discussions. Again and again I greatly admire and appreciate all that you share with us.



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Stormeo



Joined: 14 Jul 2019
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PostPosted: 01/11/21 12:48 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

What is the WNBA’s core rule? A guide to the core designation

Quote:
The core rule, like restricted free agency, exists to protect franchises from losing their most prized players to the open market. For the most part, it seems to be in place to protect small market teams from losing their premiere, experienced talent to larger markets, or to would-be superteams.


Interesting article with ideas that I had never considered. The “what are the problems with the core rule?” section in particular makes good points.



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"It's not a game of 'how to', it's a game of 'when to.'" –Sue Bird, on basketball but probably also life
Stormeo



Joined: 14 Jul 2019
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PostPosted: 01/15/21 1:56 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

And the correct answer was 3.

Nneka Ogwumike (Sparks)
Liz Cambage (Aces)
Natasha Howard (Storm)

3, one each from 2020's Top 3 finishers.

I wonder how much Alyssa Thomas' current "serious lower-leg injury" influenced the Sun's decision not to core her.

I wouldn't have minded seeing the Liberty core Zahui B. for the pure "strategery" of it all, so I wonder if them not coring her is an indication of anything.



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Richyyy



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PostPosted: 01/15/21 2:13 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

90% of the window to core Alyssa Thomas was done before the injury, so I think the decision was probably already made. Their choice was a little complicated by having Jonquel Jones expiring next summer, so maybe they were waiting until the final minute and the injury helped finalise the decision, but I doubt it.



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J-Spoon



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PostPosted: 01/15/21 3:06 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

I think not coring Zahui B indicates that the Liberty didn't want to pay her the super max.

They might try and resign her at less, but once cored if they couldn't trade her they would have to pay her, it is also possible they thought if she had to get the super max because of coring it would have been harder to find a trade partner.


Michelle89



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PostPosted: 01/15/21 6:42 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Why would anyone want to pay Zahui B max money?



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PostPosted: 01/15/21 7:40 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Michelle89 wrote:
Why would anyone want to pay Zahui B max money?


Laughing Laughing



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IM in OC



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PostPosted: 01/20/21 2:59 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

The last game that Zahui B played for Dynamo Kursk was on 12/17/20. She only played 8 minutes in the game on 12/17. On the Kursk team site was this mention:

The decision was made by mutual agreement of the parties. The basketball player will not be able to play due to health problems and will continue to receive treatment outside of Russia. For Dynamo, played 9 matches in the Premier League and 2 matches in the Euroleague group stage.

Premier League - 17.08 minutes, 7.3 points, 5 rebounds.

Euroleague - 27.1 minutes, 10.5 points, 5.5 rebounds.

We thank Amanda for her professionalism and dedication, we wish you a speedy recovery and return to the site.

I dont recall reading about an injury.

http://kurskbasket.ru/#/main?pa=post&oid=10461273


Richyyy



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PostPosted: 01/20/21 3:08 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

That might just be a polite way of saying "we've cut her because she wasn't good enough for what we were paying her".



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ClayK



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PostPosted: 01/20/21 5:56 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Zahui B. is, from what I've seen, a really bad defender.



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