The weeks leading up to the 2021-22 WNBA season were filled with shocking roster moves as 12 teams made their cuts down to 144 players as former high-profile draft picks were waived due to the league’s current cap structure.
Per the Seattle Times, Commissioner Cathy Engelbert plans to address the increasing number of talented players vying for rosters each May by adding two expansion teams over the next few years.
“I don’t think it’s about rosters per team,” Engelbert said. “It’s about more opportunities to play for more players to play.”
Over the past few weeks, the stars of the W have been sharing their thoughts and ideas on how the League can adapt to the growing pool of talent. Amidst the roster shuffling last week, Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart shared her perspective on the obstacle that the hard cap creates for front offices across the league, suggesting teams keep rookie contract players on the roster by way of being a practice player.
I hate seeing so many great players being cut from WNBA teams. Salaries went up, but a very restrictive hard cap has put teams in a bind. We need to soften it to allow of our league to grow. The WNBA needs to adjust ASAP (before the next CBA).— Breanna Stewart (@breannastewart) May 4, 2022
Sparks forward Chiney Ogwumike mirrored Stewart’s ideas of exploration while expressing her concerns surrounding the roster moves. The two-time All-Star suggested the W implement a developmental league similar to the NBA’s G League.
“In no circumstance should we have a league when high draft picks aren’t on a roster,” Ogwumike said.
In the background, cities and investors have been plotting and strategizing for the opportunity to cast a bid like four-time All-Star Alana Beard, who’s leading the city of Oakland’s bid for expansion.