The WNBA is at the tail end of its most dramatic free agency period in league history, and though there’s no basketball being played in America, I keep getting dunked on by the teams’ social media accounts.
Listen, I did a thing. An important thing. Something that media does in every other sport. I gave a grade to each of the league’s 12 teams for how they did in free agency. The post is right here. I was pretty damn excited to do it, too.
I’m going into my fifth year covering the WNBA, and it’s the first time free agency has ever warranted this type of coverage. That’s because the league and its players just signed a new collective bargaining agreement in January that, among other financial and life perks, paved the way for an actually busy free agency. In two weeks, five all-star players moved teams and several other role-players were poached. This winter was actually fun!
I keep getting internet curb stomped, though.
I think my grades were fair in that they were harsh when they needed to be, and complimentary when deserved. WNBA teams clearly didn’t agree.
The Chicago Sky (B-) memed my grade. I’m pretty sure the Phoenix Mercury (B) subtweeted me, even though they claim they didn’t. And the Las Vegas Aces (C+) dug me a grave, yanked my soul from my diaphragm, put my soul back into my body and then dropkicked me to the Earth’s core.
And now to the judges for this dunk pic.twitter.com/JwOIkDfbAh— Las Vegas Aces (@LVAces) February 27, 2020
The memes have been fun as hell, and a great time for WNBA fans at the expense of my own dignity. But even bigger than the jokes, this period of controversy signals the league is taking its next step.
For the first time in my career, I wrote that a team gave out a bad contract. I was also able to criticize teams for their inability to keep a star player, or compliment them for making smart business decisions. With a spiked salary cap, increased salaries, and more freedom of movement, the WNBA is taking steps to become the year-round drama machine its sister company, the NBA, is. WNBA general managers have to think harder about their future, agents have to work harder to secure money for their clients, and media have to analyze the daily motions of the league under a different lens.
This is probably just the beginning of the Getting Completely Owned In Public phase of my career, but that’s OK. The WNBA is finally growing up.