Liberty's loyalty: Breanna Stewart's renewed commitment to New York sparks excitement

The New York Liberty has officially announced that Breanna Stewart, the reigning MVP, has opted to continue her journey with the team.

(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

The top WNBA free agent has officially signed a new contract. On Monday, the New York Liberty announced that Breanna Stewart would be coming back to the team under a one-year, non-guaranteed agreement.

Stewart, designated as "cored" by the Liberty, implies that she wouldn't transition into a restricted free agent during the off-season. Under a core designation in the WNBA, Stewart was exclusively allowed to negotiate and communicate with New York during this year's free agency window. This core status grants the Liberty financial maneuverability and exclusive negotiating privileges.


Breanna Stewart takes a pay cut which gives the Liberty financial flexibility

In her agreement, Stewart accepted a reduced salary, falling below the league's maximum deal. This calculated decision provides New York with the optimal chance to vie for a championship while also retaining numerous high-profile players. The Maximum regular salary in the WNBA is worth $208,219.

As reported by The Athletic, the agreement provides both Stewart and the Liberty with "tremendous flexibility in future negotiations," suggesting Stewart's desire to remain with the organization long-term. Demonstrating a commitment to building a strong roster, General Manager Kolb diligently re-signed Sabrina Ionescu, Kayla Thorton, and Betnijah Laney before the onset of free agency.

When appointed as General Manager in 2019, Liberty GM Jonathan Kolb harbored a vision of constructing a championship-winning team. Awarded the title of 2023 WNBA Executive of the Year, Kolb ensured the return of the cornerstone of his plan by securing Breanna Stewart.

“It’s a monumental day in New York as we are thrilled to welcome back the MVP, Breanna Stewart,” said Liberty General Manager Jonathan Kolb in a press release. “Stewie's return marks our unwavering commitment to excellence and our collective drive to bring a championship to New York. Welcome back, Stewie!”

Stewart will play a pivotal role in guiding the Liberty toward another championship victory.

Breanna Stewart, at 29 years old, has showcased her exceptional talent and leadership as she enters her second year with the New York Liberty. Under her guidance, the team achieved a remarkable feat by reaching the finals, marking their first appearance in the championship series since 2002. A 2x MVP, Stewart spent the first six seasons with the Seattle Storm, where she won two championships. The no. 1 pick in the 2016 WNBA Draft, Stewart has expressed the desire to be "great" and bring a championship to the city of New York.

Despite falling short against the formidable Las Vegas Aces in a captivating series, Stewart's performance throughout the season captivated audiences and generated numerous storylines. Her contributions both on and off the court undoubtedly solidified her status as a standout player in the league.

After achieving a career-high average of 23.0 points, 3.8 assists, 9.3 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, and 1.5 steals per game, the former UConn Husky was honored with the MVP trophy. Renowned for her exceptional two-way skills, Stewart maintained impressive shooting percentages of 46.5 percent from the field and 35.5 percent from beyond the three-point line.

Breanna Stewart breaks silence on signing: "I'm back"

Despite being on a team with abundant talent, she accomplished the remarkable feat of scoring four 40-point games, setting a new record in WNBA history. Guided by head coach Sandy Brondello, Stewart is cherished as a valued teammate, earning admiration for her contributions both on and off the court.

The decision follows New York's re-signing of center/forward Jonquel Jones to a two-year contract. With aspirations of returning to the WNBA Finals, the Bahamas native played a pivotal role in the Liberty's achievements last season.

After failing to sign Nneka Ogwumike in free agency, New York recently signed Kennedy Burke to fill a crucial bench position. With the WNBA draft right around the corner, New York currently holds the no. 11 pick. The most important question, is with Leonie Fiebich and Ivana Dojkić signed on minimum deals, what is Kolb's next projected move?

Even with the departures of Jocelyn Willoughby and Stephanie Dolson in free agency, Breanna Stewart's decision to accept a salary below the maximum allows the Liberty the opportunity to strengthen their bench and mount another championship campaign.

In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Breanna Stewart succinctly addressed her recent signing with just two words: "I'm back."

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Sara Jane Gamelli is a full-time Sportswriter, Content Creator and Social Media Manager for Ballislife Bets. She has a focus on the NBA, WNBA, NCAA Basketball, and the NFL. Sara Jane currently resides in Connecticut/NYC area with her Cat and Dog. SJ has her undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut in Economics, with a minor in business administration.


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