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Breanna Stewart Rumors: Former Storm Star Meets With Liberty amid Free Agency

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 21, 2022

Joshua Huston/NBAE via Getty Images

Longtime Seattle Storm star Breanna Stewart reportedly met with the New York Liberty in free agency this week.

According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Liberty owners Joe and Clara Tsai, head coach Sandy Brondello and the full front office staff all went to Los Angeles for the meeting with Stewart.

In five seasons with the Storm, Stewart is a three-time All-Star, two-time WNBA champion, two-time WNBA Finals MVP and one-time WNBA MVP.

The 27-year-old Stewart is undoubtedly one of the WNBA's best players when healthy, but she has been plagued by injuries in recent years.

She missed the entire 2019 WNBA season after suffering a torn Achilles while playing for Russian club Dynamo Kursk during the WNBA offseason.

Stewart returned to action in 2020 and was named WNBA Finals MVP after leading the Storm to a championship, and while she was productive in 2021 as well, a foot injury kept her out for the playoffs.

Overall, the 6'4" forward owns career averages of 20.0 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.6 blocks, 1.6 three-pointers made and 1.3 steals in 149 WNBA regular-season games.

The former UConn standout has also averaged 24.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.2 three-pointers made, 1.4 steals and 1.2 blocks in 16 playoff contests.

While Stewart became a free agent at the conclusion of the 2021 season, she made it clear that her main desire was to re-sign with the Storm.

According to Forbes' Michael LoRe, Stewart said the following about her future in December: "My heart is in Seattle, and I plan to be back playing in the new arena, playing in Climate Pledge. Overall, I think the offseason is going really wellβ€”obviously taking some time away from basketball and making sure I'm rehabbing and recovering well."

If Stewart leaves the Storm for the Liberty, it could represent a seismic shift in the WNBA's power structure.

Despite being an original WNBA franchise, the Liberty have never won a championship, and they have reached the playoffs just once in the past four seasons.

There is reason for optimism in New York, though, as 2020 No. 1 overall draft pick Sabrina Ionescu largely stayed healthy in 2021 after an injury-riddled rookie campaign and helped lead the Liberty to the postseason.

Adding Stewart to a core that includes Ionescu, Betnijah Laney, Natasha Howard and Sami Whitcomb would make the Liberty legitimate championship threats, and it would put one of the league's top stars in one of its top markets as well.

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