On Jan. 17, Connecticut Sun head coach/general manager Curt Miller and Amber Cox spoke to media about the new CBA and the newly released 2020 schedule.
It was announced the next day that teams can begin negotiating with free agents on Jan. 28 and start signing contracts on Feb. 10.
Miller opened the conference call by saying how excited he was for the new CBA and what it means for the future of the league:
“Obviously, in terms of the new CBA, it was a historic agreement, very exciting times for the league and the future of the league,” he said. “Everyone’s going to talk about the salary increases, but the health and wellness part of the new CBA (and) thinking outside the box on some issues that haven’t been a part of the CBA in the past. I think our league now can be a trailblazing league for all women’s professional leagues.”
Miller was tight-lipped about any specifics about free agency, including regarding if Jonquel Jones would be under contract by the start of training camp. However, he did say, “[We’re] excited about what we did last year and know that we’re going to be really focused on building upon it.”
While he did not give away any of his plans for free agency, Miller did note that culture would drive his free agency plans.
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“I’m a big believer that championships are won in the locker room,” he said. “And so as we continue to construct our roster management, not only talent of players will be taken into consideration. Again, it’s going to be a chemistry a culture thing that’s really, really important to the Sun.”
With the extra salary cap space comes room for more flexibility for teams according to Miller, something he believes each team will approach differently. Miller believes the new CBA sets a foundation for players to eventually stop playing overseas, but only for some players, and he sees ending overseas play as a long-term goal for the league.
“I don’t think we’re done yet. But it’s a great first step in providing those discussions and opportunities,” he said. “Obviously, there is still money overseas for some people that would be hard to walk away from if they chose to continue to play year-round. But it is a great first step in allowing some of these choices now for our great athletes that, can they, will they, choose to stay in the states and have a more traditional offseason?”
Many people looked at the new travel requirements and accommodations for mothers and said “what took so long”? However, Cox offered a different perspective on the matter.
“I think it’s just the progression of the league, right? Like, if you look back at the progression of the NBA, you can say the same thing,” she said. “Their travel in the early years to what it is now, there were steps in between and those improvements were made with each deal. So yeah, we can look at it now and go ‘these make complete and obvious sense in this moment’ but there were reasons back whenever the last CBA was negotiated that it was those things were negotiated the way they were then. So I think it’s just progress.”
One of the aspects of the 2020 season that many people wondered about was the Commissioner’s Cup, as well as the increased number of games despite the condensed schedule in an Olympic year.
Cox said, “We love being able to play additional games. I think it’s something that fans have been asking for for a long time, you know, just continuing to expand our schedule and our season.”
Miller later added that the Olympic break creates unique challenges, but also an opportunity for a second training camp.
“Like every Olympic year, that break creates challenges. Did you have momentum going into the break and how not to lose it, it is it an opportunity to reset and you know, come back focused. It’s almost like you get a second training camp when you get back. How we are playing going into that Olympic break, will set the tone on how we use that Olympic break practice.”
Coming back from the Olympic break the Sun will get a chance to spend most of the next month at home.
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