After enduring a horrendous season where they were not even sure that they were going to be in existence, the New York Liberty have the opportunity to overhaul their roster for the 2019 season.
The New York Liberty were not a shadow of their former selves last season. Coach Bill Laimbeer left, owner James Dolan wanted to sell the franchise. He could not sell so he moved them out to Westchester. New coach Katie Smith had a limited time to sign free agents thanks to the uncertainly.
Fortunately for the Liberty, they did play last season and will continue on, the WNBA needs a team in New York to survive. The Liberty are looking like they will be sold, hopefully for a better future. With more certainty, Smith can sign a stronger roster, they will need it, they only have three players on contract for next season.
Bria Hartley – While she played every game last year, Hartley got a little lost amongst the many guards the Liberty had on their roster. She started 20 games and was third on the team in scoring as well as second in assists. Will potentially get more of an opportunity to shine next year depending on who the Liberty sign but will need to improve her 3-point shooting.
Kia Nurse – The future of the franchise, Nurse is a strong talent who outplayed all but Tina Charles on the roster last season. She was second in scoring for the team, having several huge nights. She has gained experience by leading the Canberra Capitals in Australia’s WNBL and will be better next year for the Liberty.
Kiah Stokes – Starting only four games last year, Stokes led the Liberty in field goal percentage. She was also second on the team in rebounds in the second least minutes per game on the team.
Free Agents to be re-signed
The Mystics have nine players who are off contract this season. Not all of them will be re-signed as the franchise is looking to improve on last season. They have about $750,000 in salary cap space.
Brittney Boyd – Last season Boyd led the Liberty in assists. After only playing two games last season thanks to a torn Achilles, Boyd improved her efficiency, scoring at a better rate from the floor than ever before.
Tina Charles – If ever a player needed to be cored it is Charles for the Liberty. The perennial MVP candidate led the team in scoring, rebounding and blocks. Is one of the best post players in the league but has added a really consistent 3-point shot to her game. Genuine superstar of the league.
UPDATE: Tina Charles has been cored as per ESPN
Epiphanny Prince – The Liberty need to have the experience of Prince during the transition to a new roster. Not afraid to take the last second shot, Prince is a quality finisher and was one of the few Liberty players who was effective from the perimeter last season.
Sugar Rodgers – After a tremendous 2017 season, Rodgers regressed last season. Despite this, if the Liberty are able to sign some more quality players Rodgers will be more effective again next season.
Amanda Zauhi B – Last season was a coming out party for Zauhi B. While she did not start a game she was a spark off the bench, scoring 7.7 points per game at 50 percent from the field. She also shot 34.4 percent from deep. If she gets more opportunities next year she may take another step.
Unlikely to be re-signed
Rebecca Allen – Despite being one of the mainstays for the Liberty for a few years, Allen was not herself last year. A quality shooter, Allen was only given 10.4 minutes per game and shot the long ball at just 26.3 percent.
Marissa Coleman – At the start of the season Coleman was amazing. She scored well and was a good foil for Charles. As the season went on her effectiveness lessened.
Kia Vaughn – Despite starting most of the game she played last season, Vaughn only displayed glimpses of talent last season. Coach Smith will probably be looking for more consistency from her starting unit.
Shevonte Zellous – Despite starting all 22 games she played in last season, someone from the guard rotation has to go. Nurse needs more playing time and the Liberty need to get younger blood on their roster.
There is a strong chance that Katie Smith will clean out more of her roster than this but only time will tell. Expect the Liberty to be big players in this years free-agency pool