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Liberty making MVP Breanna Stewart a core player

Oct 15, 2023; Brooklyn, New York, USA; New York Liberty forward Breanna Stewart (30) warms up prior to game three of the 2023 WNBA Finals against the Las Vegas Aces at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Liberty plan to designate reigning WNBA Most Valuable Player Breanna Stewart as a core player.

The move was confirmed by general manager Jonathan Kolb to ESPN on Friday, two days after the Liberty’s season ended with a Game 4 loss to the Las Vegas Aces in the WNBA Finals.

Like a franchise tag in the NFL, the core designation keeps Stewart from becoming an unrestricted free agent.

The veteran forward averaged 23.0 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists and started all 40 games during the regular season, her first with New York after six seasons with the Seattle Storm.

Stewart, 29, said Friday that she’s “excited for what we’re doing here in New York” and “looking forward to doing it for many years to come,” per ESPN.

Liberty forward Jonquel Jones, also 29, carried the core designation the past two years (the maximum) and will become an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

Jones, the 2021 league MVP, said Friday that she is “definitely trending towards coming back here.” She averaged 11.3 points and 8.4 rebounds in 40 games (all starts) during the 2023 season.

–Field Level Media

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