Breanna Stewart hopes to return to Seattle Storm via free agency ‘unless something crazy happens’
injured seattle striker, Brianna Stewart, says he wishes he could help Storm avoid the end of their season in the WNBA playoffs on Sunday. But he indicated that he hopes to return to Seattle next season to help the franchise clinch its fifth WNBA title.
Stewart, who has been sidelined with a left leg/foot injury since picking it up in a game against Washington on September 7, is one of Storm’s three stars — plus Joel Lloyd And So Bird – Who are unrestricted free agents. The Seattle players spoke via video call Monday after the loss to Phoenix.
“Seattle has always been my home [en la WNBA]1 by storm in the 2016 draft, said Stewart, “It’s where I’ve grown, where my career has continued to develop. So I have plans to come back unless something crazy happens. We have more to get here.”
Stewart said he expects to play again near the end of the WNBA semifinals, which kicks off Tuesday, if the storm gets that far. But she wasn’t sure, as she had to weigh the risks/benefit of trying to come back too soon, which could dictate a longer recovery time. The exact nature of the injury has not been determined.
“It’s a terrible moment,” Stewart said after picking up an injury near the end of the regular season. “He feels a lot better, but I haven’t played basketball since the Washington game.
“I have a mature strategy toward things. You’re not going to win every year. As much as I want to say, ‘Yeah, that’s me!'” “Sometimes other things happen, and they won’t.”
At 27, Stewart won two NBA titles, in 2018 and 2020, and was the MVP of the 2018 regular season. But he missed the 2019 campaign with a ruptured right Achilles tendon, and the 2021 season finale with this injury. In both years, he lost the Storm in the second round of the playoffs.
Loyd says, “I wish Stewie was Iron Man, and never got hurt.”
Loyd, who turns 28 next week, was the top pick in the 2015 WNBA Draft. She said she and Stewart have talked about wanting to continue playing together but plan to make a decision. Stewart has averaged 20.3 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 2.7 assists this season, while Loyd finished at 17.8, 4.0 and 3.8. Both played on the US Olympic team that won the gold medal with Bird.
“Seattle has been my home for the past seven years,” said Lloyd, who has no plans to play outside this winter. “When you understand free agency, you realize that you have a choice to stay or leave. I will take this time to rest and talk to my family and talk to Stewie and the others. Re-evaluate my place in my career and move forward from that point on.”
Bird, who will turn 41 in October, said after Sunday’s game that she was not sure if she would return for the 19th game. next season. She appreciated all the kind words she received in texts and on social media after the match, but says she needs time to decide if she can mentally prepare for another campaign. She added that she is grateful that she has remained healthy throughout 2021.
“The mental side is just as difficult as the physical side at times, especially given a long period off season,” said Bird, who no longer plays abroad. “The payoff is the WNBA season, the games. When another season starts again…Some days I wake up and think, ‘Oh, today is going to be terrible,’ but you find a way to finish. [los entrenamientos]. You have some ups and downs in terms of motivation. This is overwhelming to me now from a mental point of view.
“The way I play and the position I play, there’s a mental strain that can run. You have to be able to train yourself a certain way to fight that and give in to it all season long. It’s hard to maintain an advantage. Competitive for so long. I feel lucky to have been able to keep it.” As long as you are able to.”
With that, Byrd commented that she certainly hasn’t made a decision about 2022, and that the prospect of playing at the newly renovated Climate Pledge near her home in downtown Seattle is attractive. The Storm has not played at the old KeyArena since the 2018 season. Their home games were played at two Seattle-area facilities in 2019 and 2021, and all 2020 games were played in the WNBA bubble in Bradenton, Florida, in 2020.
“I miss the energy of this building, the home advantage the fans give us,” Bird said. “This is an important part of my career; all my memories are connected to this place.”
Stewart said he would try to persuade Bird to stay for another season. Stewart is under contract to play in Russia this winter and plans to play when he is healthy. She recently married fellow basketball player Marta Zargay Casademont, and they have a newborn daughter.
“The plan is for the whole family to go,” Stewart said. “My timetable for getting to Russia, I don’t know. But I’d be open on both sides – in Russia and Seattle – about what’s going on.”
“For Sue, I’ll try to do my best for her to come back another year. But whatever I decide… I’ll enjoy every memory we’ve created, and hopefully we can do more.”