Can the WNBL capitalise on the WNBA's prioritisation rule?
The WNBA's prioritisation rule comes into full effect next season and it might just have positive consequences on the WNBL.
The WNBL is in an interesting position right now.
Image credit: May Bailey Photography
The league lost many Australian players this offseason to European leagues - Lauren Scherf, Chloe Bibby, Shyla Heal, Mareena Whittle and Abby Bishop, just to name a few. While that is a disappointing aspect for the league, there is a real opportunity for WNBL clubs to sign WNBA-level imports, and that has a lot to do with the WNBA’s ‘prioritisation rule’.
While the rule is in its infancy, first coming into play for this current WNBA season, the prioritisation rule is all about the WNBA wanting its players to be back in the States before the WNBA season tips off. As the rule suggests, it’s all about players prioritising the WNBA over leagues around the world. For the 2024 WNBA season, players with three or more years of service in the league, must report to their team, and thus complete overseas duties, by May 1st or the start of training camp (whichever is latest) - or they will be suspended for the season.
The rule has definitely raised eyebrows within WNBA circles, and it remains to be seen how it will affect the superstar players that do go overseas each year after the WNBA season is completed. The likes of reigning Finals MVP Chelsea Gray and former MVP Breanna Stewart make huge money playing overseas and European seasons often clash with the start of the WNBA season, which is why the league brought in the rule.
What does this have to do with the WNBL?
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