Analyzing how the increased salary cap and salary maximum impact the Sun
With the new CBA comes an increased salary cap and no team should be more excited for that than the Connecticut Sun. Teams now have a $1.3 million cap, with a $215,000 maximum salary for an individual player.
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Prior to the new CBA the Sun looked to be in a cash crunch, with Brionna Jones, Theresa Plaisance, Alyssa Thomas and Jasmine Thomas accounting for $401,367.
The additional $300,000 will be critical in resigning more of last season’s roster, something that appeared nearly impossible prior to Tuesday morning.
Jonquel Jones will be looking to get a significant pay increase, as she made $59,718 last season, and was a critical part of the Sun’s Finals run last season. With both Thomases making near the league maximum last season Jones has a reason to fight for near the league maximum. This would leave Connecticut about 52% of its salary cap space for the last seven players on the team.
Courtney Williams, who caught fire in the playoffs, also has an argument for taking up another large chunk of the salary cap, leaving the Sun to try to figure out if they can keep the bench as intact as it was last year.
However, one starter would still need to be paid, Shekinna Stricklen. While Stricklen had an up and down season, her contributions to the team, especially behind the arc, cannot be understated. She made $106,000 last season. Due to the increased maximum salary, it should be expected that if Stricklen stays she will be making more than she did last season, but Connecticut can only really afford to pay Stricklen $150,000 next season.
Add that to the existing salary requirements, $215,000 for Jones and Williams, and the Sun are left with $318,633 for the remaining five spots.
While it may be doable to keep most of the bench intact, it may be difficult. It should also be noted that the Sun have multiple first-round picks, leading to cheaper options, but also more turnover.
Connecticut should prioritize keeping around Bria Holmes, who added versatility to the team coming off the bench as she was able to play multiple positions.
Still unaccounted for would be Rachel Banham, Morgan Tuck, Natisha Hiedeman (because she was signed in-season she is not on rookie scale) and Layshia Clarendon who all contributed at key points last season.
Clarendon would be the most likely candidate to draw starter interest elsewhere this season, which may be a good thing for the Sun because she will probably require at least $110,000 of the salary cap if she was to stay. It would be nearly impossible for the team to keep her and pay four other players.
Additionally, the average rookie salary will also increase, something the Sun will also need to account for as the draft approaches.
It’s still unclear how many rookies will make the team, the Sun kept just one on the roster last season, and who will leave or get cut, but what is clear is that if the team wants to carry 12 athletes next season at least one person will have to go.
While the additional money will certainly help the Sun, it will still be nearly impossible to retain each piece of the team from last season.
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