Breanna Stewart penned a 325-word goodbye to Seattle and the Storm the day after ending a seven-year tenure with the franchise and choosing to sign with the New York Liberty in free agency. 

The two-time WNBA champion posted the farewell on her social media accounts early Thursday morning. 

“Seattle, where do I even begin? I came to this city in 2016 and you have welcomed me with open arms. A city that has helped me come into my own both on and off the court. Constantly standing behind our players and organization to advocate and fight for more. 

This is my home. Where I’ve grown up, bought my first place, got married (and) started to raise a family. I am eternally grateful for everything from the city, the organization, the staff and my teammates. As I close this chapter of my career, I can look back on 2 WNBA championships, but really what I think about is the relationships and friendships I’ve made throughout my time here. Bonds that cannot be broken. 

Sue, I really should have wrote this after your retirement, but I’ll just put it here now. It’s hard for me to imagine anything Seattle related without you. You’ve helped me literally since Day 1 and I know that’s not going to stop anytime soon. My idol, my teammate, my PG, my leader, my friend, thank you for not only setting the bar, but continuing to raise it every moment you can. I will continue to uplift this league as you have. 

Jewell, my dawg. We grew up together in this league. We went from being roommates to throwing unlimited lobs in games (sorry Sue) to an unstoppable tandem that helped bring this franchise 2 more titles!! I’m so thankful to have you in my corner always. Teammates or not, that’s never going to change!! Does handshake. 


To the Storm franchise, the owners, staff, coaches, teammates and fans, thank you. Each one of you have been a huge part of my journey from Day 1to Year 8. The Seattle Storm is special and everyone knows it and that starts with the people behind it. 

Thank you, Seattle! 

It’s not goodbye, just see you later. 

Love, Stewie, Marta, Ruby & Stew.” 

Stewart and the Liberty haven’t finalized a contract, which led to leaguewide speculation New York and Seattle were working on a sign-and-trade deal that would give her more money and send a player or two to the Storm. 

The Storm is the only team that can give Stewart a supermax deal worth $234,936 annually while the most the Liberty can offer is $202,154. 

Any chance of a sign-and-trade deal with New York evaporated when former Chicago Sky point guard Courtney Vandersloot picked the Liberty over the Storm on Thursday. 

On Wednesday, the former Kentwood High star announced on her Instagram that she was going to play for the Storm before quickly deleting the post, but not before several media outlets reported she was going home. Vandersloot’s agent Lindsay Kagawa Colas told ESPN that she hadn’t made a decision. 

Losing Stewart and Vandersloot is a double gut punch to the Storm. 


Those free-agent losses are compounded by Sue Bird’s retirement last year, which puts the Storm at a crossroads similar to 2013 when star Lauren Jackson ended a brilliant WNBA career cut short by injuries. 

Rather than continue attempts at chasing a title with a few holdovers from the 2010 WNBA championship team, the Storm bottomed out at 12-22 in 2014 and 10-24 in 2015, which led to back-to-back No. 1 picks in the WNBA draft that were used on Loyd and Stewart. 

Stewart and Loyd comprised a Big Three trio with Bird that carried the Storm to championships in 2018 and 2020. 

Could the Storm plot a similar path in the post-Stewart era? 

Maybe, but the WNBA made it more difficult for teams to tank and move to the top of the draft. In 2021, the league revised its lottery rules that gives four teams with the worst combined winning percentage over a two-year span a chance to attain the No. 1 pick. 

Theoretically, the Storm, who finished 22-14 last season, could win 5-10 games during the upcoming 40-game season and not be among the 2024 lottery teams. 


Of course, tanking for Iowa’s Caitlin Clark or Connecticut’s Paige Bueckers isn’t a strategy the Storm front office will publicly endorse, and it’s not what most fans want to hear three months before the start of the 2023 season. 

Conceivably, the Storm will try to somehow cobble together a roster from the dregs of the free-agency market that can compete with the super teams being built in Las Vegas and New York. 

So far, the Storm have Loyd and center Mercedes Russell under contract while extending qualifying offers to center Ezi Magbegor and forward Gabby Williams. 

They still need a point guard, a veteran low-post scorer, a backup point guard, three-point shooters and help on the front line to field a competitive team. 

That’s a long shopping list, and the top free agents include: Tina Charles, Jordin Canada, Emma Meesseman, Sami Whitcomb, Monique Billings and Isabelle Harrison. 

There’s also one more option.  

The Storm could use this season to formulate a core of promising young players with hopes of adding a big-name star or two next year from deep free-agent class that potentially includes: A’ja Wilson, Jonquel Jones, Elena Delle Donne, Skylar Diggins-Smith, Kahleah Copper, Sabrina Ionescu, Satou Sabally, Betnijah Laney, Aerial Powers, Kayla McBride, Stefanie Dolson and Loyd.