WNBA Facing Concerns Over Roster Size, Salaries In Upcoming CBA Negotiations
The WNBA after this season will enter negotiations on its next CBA, and what is "certain is that there will be points of contention for ownership to deal with a base of players growing increasingly dissatisfied with business as usual," according to John Altavilla of the HARTFORD COURANT. The league's makeup of 11-person rosters, "agreed to by the players in the last CBA, employ only 132 players." The rosters have been "universally assailed because of the trouble that teams have had adjusting to major injuries." In addition, player salaries "remain staggeringly low." Veterans like Mercury G Diana Taurasi and Storm G Sue Bird, "pillars of the league, can currently make no more than $107,000 a season," while the salary cap remains less than $1M. This "salary conundrum is beginning to catch up with the WNBA." Players play for "high six-figure salaries in Europe, Asia and Australia, and more are growing increasingly hesitant to tax their bodies in a place -- the WNBA -- where the money is not as plentiful." WNBA President Laurel Richie said, "I'm excited about the process. I look forward to partnering with players and with the union to come out on the other side with an agreement that bodes well for the long-term health of the league" (HARTFORD COURANT, 7/29). Meanwhile, Richie said that the league is "more interested in building the health of its 12 teams than worrying about expansion." She said, "We want to make sure those teams are as strong as they can be. I would say expansion is in the future, but we have [not] assigned a number (of teams) or date on (the process)" (COURANT.com, 7/27).
PERMANENT ALL-STAR HOST? In Connecticut, Marc Allard asked, "Should the All-Star game, which sometimes is cast aside for such things as the Olympics, always be played at the Mohegan Sun Arena?" The venue on Saturday played host to the WNBA All-Star Game for the third time, and Fever coach Lin Dunn said, "It's a wonderful size arena, it's in a great location. Somebody in the league is going to have to show they can do a better job or it could continue to be here." Taurasi said, "There's 11,000 people here, (the media) is here covering it because you know how much the game means to people in Connecticut and across the country, and that's the kind of attention we need. When we come here, it's always great and the games are always good here, too." However, Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said, "I'm an advocate for moving it around and sharing it with different cities." She added, "Cultivating it in other places is important for the growth of our game. Any time you have a chance to do that, in a city that is willing, that exposure is good" (NORWICH BULLETIN, 7/28).