WNBA Free Agency: AU Pro Basketball athletes on the move

Β© Athletes Unlimited, LLC 2024 / Credit: Jade Hewitt Media
Savanna Collins
Feb 07, 2024

The 2024 WNBA free agency period is underway and after just one week there have been some major moves and contracts signed for Athletes Unlimited Pro Basketball players.

These five AU Pro Basketball athletes have signed new contracts since free agency opened on Feb. 1.

Natasha Cloud to the Phoenix Mercury

One of the biggest free agency splashes this year is guard Natasha Cloud signing the Phoenix Mercury. It was announced on Thursday that the veteran guard and staunch defender is heading to a new team after eight seasons with the Washington Mystics.

The Mystics are the only team Cloud has played for in her WNBA career; Washington drafted her with the third pick of the second round in the 2015 draft. She was a starter on the 2019 championship team and was named All-Defensive Second Team that year. She was named to the WNBA All-Defensive First Team in 2022.

Last season, Cloud averaged a career-high 12.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.

Kalani Brown signs multi-year deal with Dallas Wings

Kalani Brown had the best season of her WNBA career in 2023 and it led to a multi-year contract with the Dallas Wings. Brown started 2023 on a training camp contract with the Wings. She signed a hardship exception contract on May 30 and was released on June 28. She was then signed by the Wings on June 29 under the League’s emergency salary cap hardship provision.

The 6-7 center appeared in 32 games and averaged 7.8 points and 4.5 rebounds. She shot 62.9% from the field and 80.2% at the free-throw line. The Los Angeles Sparks selected Brown with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2019 WNBA draft.

Brown was a part of the inaugural AU Pro Basketball season but did not play with the league in 2023. She has signed to return for the upcoming 2024 season.

Sydney Colson is back with the Aces

Sydney Colson is set to enter her 10th year in the league with the team she’s now won back-to-back WNBA championships with. Colson was selected by the Connecticut Sun in the second round (No. 16 overall) in the 2011 WNBA Draft. She has played for five different teams, including the San Antonio Stars from 2015 to 2017 – the franchise that later moved to Las Vegas.

While she may have averaged 4.8 minutes per game last season, Colson played a major role in propelling the Aces to their 2023 Championship. In Game 4 of the WNBA Finals, the guard played 14 minutes and finished with +17 on the floor.

Sparks sign Rae Burrell to multi-year deal

Rae Burrell is returning to the Los Angeles Sparks after signing a two-year contract with the team. For most of 2023, Burrell was playing on a hardship contract with the Sparks where she appeared in 29 games and averaged 11.1 minutes. She recorded 3.6 points per game on average and 1.2 rebounds while shooting 39% from 3-point range.

Burrell was picked No. 9 overall by the Sparks in the 2022 WNBA Draft but only appeared in three games. She played overseas in the WNBL in Australia and EuroLeague throughout that year. 2024 will be her first season with AU Pro Basketball.

Washington Mystics sign Emily Engstler

On Thursday, the Washington Mystics announced that they signed free agent forward Emily Engstler to a training camp contract. Engstler was drafted by the Indiana Fever with the fourth overall selection in the 2022 WNBA Draft. She played in 55 games during her rookie campaign, averaging 5.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.1 blocks per game, but was later waived by the Fever.

She signed a training camp contract in 2023 with the Mystics, though she did not make the opening day roster. She also had a short-term contract with the Minnesota Lynx in 2023. The 2024 AU Pro Basketball season will be her debut with the league.

Available for signing

Ruthy Hebard, Odyssey Sims and Evina Westbrook remain as unrestricted free agents ahead of the 2024 WNBA season.Β 

Hebard was selected with the eighth overall pick in the 2020 WNBA Draft by the Chicago Sky and has spent four seasons with the team since. The Sky did not issue a qualifying offer to Hebard, making her an unrestricted free agent.

Sims signed a hardship contract with the Dallas Wings on June 7 and was later signed to a standard contract for the remainder of the season. She appeared in 28 games for the Wings in 2023.

Westbrook had stints with the Phoenix Mercury and Los Angeles Sparks throughout the 2023 season. She was selected by the Seattle Storm with the No. 21 pick in the 2022 WNBA Draft and spent time with the Minnesota Lynx and Washington that year. She played in 18 total games last season.


Savanna Collins is the Senior Reporter at Athletes Unlimited. You can follow her on TwitterΒ @savannaecollins.

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