Seattle’s injured forward, Breanna Stewart, says he wish he could have helped the Storm avoid the end of their season in the WNBA playoffs on Sunday. But he has indicated that he hopes to be back in Seattle next season to help the franchise seek its fifth WNBA title.
Stewart, who has been sidelined with a left leg / foot injury since hurting herself in a game against Washington on Sept. 7, is one of the Storm’s three stars – in addition to Jewell loyd and Sue 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]”said Stewart, selected No. 1 by the Storm in the 2016 draft.” It’s where I’ve grown, where my career has continued to develop. So I have plans to go back unless something crazy happens. We have more to accomplish here. “
Stewart said he expected to play again near the end of the WNBA semifinals, which kick off Tuesday, if the Storm had gone that far. But she wasn’t sure, as she had to weigh the risk / benefit of trying to come back too soon, which might have forced a longer recovery time. The exact nature of the injury has not been specified.
“It’s a terrible moment,” Stewart said of getting injured so close to 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 towards things. You’re not going to win every year. And as much as I want to say, ‘Yes, it’s me!’ sometimes other things happen, and it just won’t happen. “
At 27, Stewart has won two WNBA titles, in 2018 and 2020, and was MVP of the 2018 regular season. But he missed the 2019 campaign due to a ruptured right Achilles tendon, and the final of the 2021 season with this injury. In both years, the Storm lost in the second round of the playoffs.
Loyd says, “I wish Stewie was Iron Man, and he 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 plans to take time to decide. Stewart averaged 20.3 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists this season, while Loyd finished at 17.8, 4.0 and 3.8. They both played on the US Olympic team that won the gold medal along with Bird.
“Seattle has been my home for the last seven years,” said Loyd, who has no plans to play abroad this winter. “When you understand free agency, you understand that you have a choice to stay or go. I will take this time to rest, talk to my family, talk to Stewie and others. Reassess where I am in my life and career and move on from that point. “.
Bird, who will turn 41 in October, said after Sunday’s game that she wasn’t sure if she would return for a 19th. season next year. She appreciated all the kind words she received in texts and on social media after the game, but says she needs time to decide if she can mentally prepare for another campaign. She added that she is grateful that she remained healthy throughout 2021.
“The mental part is just as difficult as the physical at times, especially given the long offseason,” said Bird, who no longer plays overseas. “The payoff is the WNBA season, the games. When an offseason starts again … some days I wake up and think, ‘Oh, today will be terrible,’ but you find a way to end. [los entrenamientos]. You have some ups and downs in terms of motivation. That is overwhelming for me right now from a mental point of view.
“The way I play and the position I play, there is mental fatigue that can take effect. You have to be able to train yourself in a certain way to fight it and succumb to it during the course of the season. It’s hard to maintain an advantage. competitive for a long time. I feel lucky to have been able to keep it for as long as I have been able to. “
With that said, Bird commented that she definitely hasn’t made up her mind about 2022, and that the prospect of playing at the newly renovated Climate Pledge Arena near her home in downtown Seattle is appealing. The Storm have 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 that building, the home advantage that the fans give us,” Bird said. “That is an important part of my career; all my memories are tied to that place.”
Stewart said he would try to convince Bird to stay for one more season. Stewart is under contract to play in Russia this winter and plans to do so when he is healthy. She recently married fellow basketball player Marta Xargay Casademont, and they have a newborn daughter.
“The plan is for the whole family to go,” Stewart said. “My timeline to get to Russia, I don’t know. But I will be open to both sides – in Russia and Seattle – about what is happening.
“As for Sue, I will try to do my best for her to come back one more year. But whatever she decides … I will enjoy every memory we have created, and hopefully we will do more.”