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2022 WNBA Free Agency: Tina Charles is top priority for Washington Mystics

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The 2021 season ended in disappointment for the Mystics as they lost their final game of the season 83-77 and were eliminated from playoff competition on the last day of the regular season.

The mystics were better than their record would suggest. They were plagued by injuries throughout the season, with Elena Delle Donne only playing three games and Alysha Clark’s season ending before it even started. In addition, Emma Meesseman played abroad. So, on paper, the Mystics were much better, and the team never had a real opportunity to stay sane and reach their true potential. Unfortunately, they will have to make some tough decisions about what to do, who to move on with and who to move away from without ever seeing the 2021 team in full strength.

By Numbers*

Free Agents (Type) (Average Salary 2021)

  • Tina Charles (unlimited) ($175,000)
  • Leilani Mitchell (unlimited) ($123,500)
  • Theresa Plaisance (unlimited) ($70,040)
  • Shatori Walker-Kimbrough (Unrestricted) ($24,330)
  • Shavonte Zellous (unlimited) ($70,040)
  • Myisha Hines-Allen (unlimited) ($70,040)

Average total free agent salary: $532,950

Total salary of the team: $922,300

Cap Place: $456,900

Analysis:

Leilani Mitchell Photo by Josh Huston/NBAE via Getty Images

The bad news is that the mystics don’t have enough cap space to bring everyone back. The good news is that they probably don’t need to bring them all back. The only must bring back player in my opinion is Tina Charles. The Mystics should do everything in their power to ensure Charles returns next season. She is an elite player and was one of the few bright spots in a dark season. You need your back.

Leilani Mitchell is another key player for the Mystics to choose. Will her production and role match her salary? Will the Mystics be able to pay both Mitchell and Charles and still have cap space to fill the list? It will likely come down to how much money and security Mitchell wants and whether the team is willing to agree to it. I think there’s a 50/50 chance Mitchell will come back.

The other players are more or less expendable for me. If you want them you can bring them back on similar deals and if you keep going you can find similar players for the same kind of money. The only other X factor when it comes to the mystics is Emma Meesseman. Will she return to the WNBA this year and will it be with Washington? It seems they ended things on good terms, and we know Washington wanted them last year. When she returns, it will likely be an expensive contract that could complicate her salary caps.

With a disappointing 2021 and six unrestricted free agents, the Mystics will likely look very different in 2022 than last year’s team. They have the talent and coaching to be a title contender, but they need to figure out who to bring back and who to replace so they can optimize that roster and bring them back to the top of the WNBA.

*All salary figures are from HerHoopStats

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