As she continues to break records in her 17th season, the player most deem the “GOAT” remains criminally underpaid. Taurasi’s current contract was signed under the league’s previous collective bargaining agreement, which paid out $119,500 to supermax players; perennial all-stars like Candice Dupree, Candace Parker, and WNBPA President Nneka Ogwumike fall into this same trap. Luckily, all four of these stars are due new contracts in 2021.
Seattle Storm point guard Sue Bird also stands to earn almost $100,000 more than her friend and contemporary Taurasi. Bird re-signed with the Storm earlier this year to a supermax contract after missing the entire 2019 season with a knee injury. This season, she is averaging a career-low in minutes played, and points scored as she makes precautionary rest a priority.
Elsewhere around the league, star players are enjoying new lucrative contracts. Courtney Williams is the highest-paid player for the Atlanta Dream; her joyfully compelling 2019 season with the Sun earned her a sparkling new max deal in the offseason. Chicago’s highest-paid players happen to be married: Courtney Vandersloot ($206,000) and Allie Quigley ($200,000), cheekily known as the Vanderquigs, each signed new deals with the Sky earlier this year. In Dallas, Astou Ndour is the second-youngest player (behind Breanna Stewart) enjoying a max deal following a “salary dump” trade from Chicago.
Renaissance woman Tiffany Mitchell of the Indiana Fever will earn $140,000 this season after signing an offer sheet with Atlanta, which Indiana matched in order to keep her. The LA Sparks re-signed sharpshooter Chelsea Gray in the offseason, and she will earn $195,000 this year, an $80,000 raise. Over in Minnesota, 2017 league MVP Sylvia Fowles signed a contract extension last September and will make $165,627 on what could be the final deal of her career. WNBPA First Vice President Layshia Clarendon is the top earner for the New York Liberty at $120,000, where she’s leading the youth movement on a majority-rookie team.
In February, Sue Bird told Howard Megdal, “money has really never been the motivator in the WNBA.” In equal parts, Bird enlightens the privilege of having a spot in such an incredibly competitive league and points out that the CBA’s new salary structure marks a historic turning point for the WNBA.