WNBA Free Agency List & Analysis: New York Liberty

Unrestricted Free Agents: None

Restricted Free Agents: Essence Carson, Leilani Mitchell

Reserved: None

Not a huge number of decisions for John Whisenant and the Liberty, but a couple of interesting ones. Essence Carson showed the skills last season to be an effective scoring wing in this league, along with her defensive skills, so someone’s going to pay her high-end money. But after growing up in Jersey, then going to Rutgers, she obviously has strong ties to the area and seems unlikely to want to leave now that she’s a key part of the rotation. I’d expect the two sides to come to an agreement, but they’re going to have to pay her properly.

Leilani Mitchell has become a more complicated choice than Carson. After adding Kara Braxton and her max-deal during last season, the Liberty have a lot of their cap committed already (Pondexter, Pierson, Powell, Braxton and presumably Carson all highly paid). In Whisenant’s system, Mitchell’s production went backwards last season, and you have to wonder if she’d be of more use to someone else. New York might like to keep her, but may not be willing to match the kind of deal she could get elsewhere (LA? Phoenix? Tulsa?).

If the Liberty sign both Carson and Mitchell – especially bearing in mind that Kia Vaughn is only 12 months away from a significant raise as well – there won’t be a lot of room to make other moves in free agency. On the other hand, if they let Mitchell walk for nothing or sign-and-trade her for a draft pick, they’d have some space to work with. A veteran point guard option like Ticha Penicheiro, who worked with Whisenant for years in Sacramento, might appeal to him. A defensive guard like Alexis Hornbuckle would fit his system as well, although probably isn’t necessary with Pondexter, Carson and Alex Montgomery already on the roster. Scholanda Robinson, who Whiz drafted and liked in Sacramento, is a similar story – she might fit, but do they really need her? It seems likely that most of the roster will stay the same in New York for 2012 – with the hope that greater familiarity with Whisenant and his system leads to improvement in the upcoming season.

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7 comments on “WNBA Free Agency List & Analysis: New York Liberty

  1. damian says:

    I think that the liberty should acquire Deanna Nolan for exchange for leilani mitchell.

  2. Damian says:

    John Whisenant please acqiure Ticha Penicheiro or Deanna Nolan as the point guards and get Cheryl Ford for some size in the post.

  3. damian says:

    The Liberty made a mistake by resigning Leilani Mitchell and not resigning Essence Carson also I think New York is not making big moves like acquiring Deanna Nolan or Ticha Penicheiro because we are in desperate need of a playmaker other than a shooting point guard.

    • Give it time on Carson. They’ve still got the cap room and still hold her RFA rights – just because Mitchell got done first doesn’t mean the Carson deal isn’t coming.

      The problem with acquiring players like those you mention is they’d have to be interested. Nolan’s been out of the league for years now and we’ve got no solid evidence that she wants to come back (even if they could then get a deal done with Tulsa to add her); Ticha seems to be waiting on how she feels to see if she still wants to play in the WNBA, and even then it’ll probably be back in California. I agree with you that it’d be nice to see Whiz being more active, but it’s a lot easier from the sidelines than it is from inside the front-office. Top end players aren’t easy to acquire.

  4. damian says:

    I agree with you but Ticha Penichiero just signed with the Chicago Sky so now we gotta sign Deanna Nolan or Leilani Mitchell is gonna sacrifice her game to become more of a traditional point guard other than a shoot first point guard,does anybody have any ideas?

  5. mark says:

    if janel mccarville don’t want to play then the liberty should trade her for deanna nolan who is a great offensive player.

  6. Damian says:

    Janel said that she’s not playing this year to spend time with her family which I’m respectful of that but at the same time we may need her because if she stayed in 2010 we could’ve made it to finals and I’ll agree with you Mark on trading Janel for Deanna Nolan and why not she’s one of the best players especially one of the best players to compliment a player like Cappie.

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