Breanna Stewart of the NY Liberty
December 9, 2023: NY Liberty forward Breanna Stewart at coat drive with the Bowery Mission. Image via the New York Liberty

Breanna Stewart Re-Signs With Liberty On One-Year Deal

Breanna Stewart has agreed to a one-year deal to return to the New York Liberty for the 2024 season. In her first season with the team, Stewart won her second WNBA MVP award and broke numerous WNBA and franchise records to propel the Liberty to their first WNBA Finals appearance since 2002. Shams Charania from The Athletic and Stadium was the first to report the news.  

Stewart’s deal is both non-guaranteed and a below-maximum deal, which allows the Liberty to have more flexibility in trading or signing for another addition. This comes after the Liberty cored Stewart in January, which allowed them to have exclusive negotiating rights. 

“It’s a monumental day in New York as we are thrilled to welcome back the MVP, Breanna Stewart,” general manager Jonathan Kolb said. “Stewie’s return marks our unwavering commitment to excellence and our collective drive to bring a championship to New York.”

New Team, Same Success

Before coming to New York, Stewart was drafted first overall in 2016 by the Seattle Storm, playing alongside Sue Bird. While in Seattle, Stewart won two WNBA championships and was named the WNBA Finals MVP in both seasons. She was also the 2016 WNBA Rookie of the Year and the 2018 WNBA MVP. In February 2023, Stewart signed with the Liberty in free agency and quickly continued her league dominance. 

Stewart played in all 40 regular season games in 2023 and averaged 23.0 points and 9.3 rebounds. She scored the second-most points ever in a regular season in WNBA history (919), along with recording four 40-point games and a franchise-high 45 points on May 21 against the Indiana Fever. 

In addition to her offensive prowess, Stewart was a force on the defensive end, recording 1.6 blocks and 1.5 steals per game. She was also named to the WNBA All-Defensive First Team.

Making a Difference On and Off the Court

In her exit interviews after the Game 4 loss in the Finals, Stewart said, “I’m excited for what we’re doing here in New York and with the Liberty… I’m looking forward to it for many years to come.” Before this season, Stewart was 6-0 in career Finals and expressed her desire to stay in New York and help the Liberty win their first championship in franchise history. 

Not only has Stewart had success on the court in Brooklyn, but she has also used her platform to give back to the community. Having been raised in Syracuse, Stewart returned to her home state and has been heavily involved in Brooklyn, attending many youth events and volunteering at community-wide functions, from giving out her Stewie 2 shoes to students to also giving back to families in need through coat and food drives. 

“The community has been to our games, and now we’ll be there for them and whatever they need,” Stewart said. 

More Offseason Moves for the Liberty?

Stewart’s below-maximum contract also helps the team and its roster construction. Because Stewart’s deal is unprotected, New York now has some more flexibility regarding the trade deadline on Aug. 20. The Liberty have already signed veteran and Euroleague star Kennedy Burke this offseason to give some added depth to their bench. Plus, New York has also re-signed Jonquel Jones, thus retaining their core starting five from 2023 including Betnijah Laney, Courtney Vandersloot and Sabrina Ionescu.

New York now has another protected slot open, which will allow them to sign another player if it chooses to do so. With Marine Johannès set to miss the upcoming WNBA season due to overseas commitments and Stefanie Dolson signing with the Washington Mystics, the Liberty may benefit from adding one more key piece. In any case, the Liberty hope to carry over their success from last season and continue to forge chemistry and gain experience playing with one another. Stewart’s new deal will play a big part in helping the Liberty work towards winning its first-ever championship.