Thursday marked the busiest day yet in the WNBA free agent market, with four teams releasing declarations.
The Washington Mystics were the first team to make a roster announcement with the acquisitions of Ashley Corral and Avery Warley. Corral did not get past training camp last season with the Seattle Storm, while Warley was picked up as a rookie free agent by the Phoenix Mercury. Injuries and ongoing debate over Phoenix's motives effectively allowed several players to get extended auditions, Warley included.
The Tulsa Shock followed, addressing a need for veteran leadership to continue guiding the young brethren in Oklahoma, disclosing that unrestricted free agent Roneeka Hodges was signed to a multi-year deal.
Hodges has relocated multiple times since her original team, the Houston Comets, folded in 2008. Her journey included stints with the Minnesota Lynx, San Antonio Silver Stars and Indiana Fever. Indiana traded Hodges for Karima Christmas in 2012, a move that perhaps barred Hodges a chance to pick up her first WNBA championship, but she will likely represent an anchor of experience for Tulsa, whose moves may be in anticipation of landing a high-caliber college guard in the draft.
Cementing Hodges in Oklahoma became more imperative after Seattle made a swift response to their roster shortage with Lauren Jackson and Ann Wauters not playing in 2013. Temeka Johnson and Noelle Quinn, both unrestricted free agents, signed new deals with the Storm. The transaction may appear surprising to West Coast fans expecting the team to locate stopgaps in the interior, but the pair should stabilize a shaky back-court, allowing their cornerstone point guard, Sue Bird, to increase her offensive utility.
Johnson was drafted in 2005 by the Mystics, winning Rookie of the Year honors. From there, she spent three seasons with the Los Angeles Sparks and another three years with Phoenix, winning a championship in 2009. Johnson played for Tulsa last season and published a remake of her first children's novel, titled Temeka's Choice.
Quinn launched her WNBA career in 2007 with Minnesota, moved to Los Angeles in 2009 and traversed to Washington in 2012.
The biggest free agent news item was found in Atlanta. The Dream stated that marquee athlete Angel McCoughtry, a restricted free agent, agreed to a new multi-year contract.
McCoughtry's 2012 timeline is considered the most tumultuous by women's basketball fans. While she did take part in the United States gold medal run during the 2012 Olympics, her accolades were quickly enveloped by controversy. An apparent rift between McCoughtry and former head coach Marynell Meadors caused the Louisville prodigy to inexplicably skip games, ultimately leading to Atlanta firing Meadors and promoting Fred Williams to head coach shortly after the Olympic break.
Pundits suggested Atlanta was catering too much to the melodramatic forward, but the sequence morphed to stranger forms when McCoughtry was suspended at the same time Williams was hired. McCoughtry was later re-instated after a private meeting with Williams, and her new deal indicates a willingness to shift the plot surrounding the league's youngest franchise.
Although the Dream will keep one of the league's most opportunistic scorers, more time may be needed to determine how deep McCoughtry's past behavior will impact her cohorts; former teammate Lindsey Harding left Atlanta for Los Angeles earlier this week.