The Las Vegas Aces have cored Liz Cambage for 2021. Kayla McBride should be back on a long-term deal, but how does that affect the Aces’ long-term plans?
The Las Vegas Aces went to the WNBA Finals without the best center in the WNBA, Liz Cambage, who sat out last season due to health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Aces have a great core of players already under contract for 2021: A’ja Wilson, Kelsey Plum, Angel McCoughtry, and Dearica Hamby. The Aces added Cambage back to the roster through the core designation, eating about 25% of the cap that they had available.
Additionally, Lindsay Allen and Emma Cannon are with the team on training camp contracts. Allen was the team’s point guard as Kelsey Plum recovered from an achilles injury. Cannon was added late in the season after Hamby went down with an injury and made six appearances in the postseason. These players do not count against the cap unless the Aces sign them to regular contracts.
By the numbers*
2021 Free Agents (type) (salary)
- Danielle Robinson (Unrestricted) ($130,000)
- Kayla McBride (Unrestricted) ($116,000)
- Sugar Rodgers (Unrestricted) ($80,000)
- Carolyn Swords (Unrestricted) ($68,000)
- Cierra Burdick (Unrestricted) ($58,480)
- Total salary of free agents: $452,480
- Total team salary (not including above players, includes Cambage’s supermax cap number): $894,229
- Cap space: $444,771
The Aces will probably bring back one player on their list of free agents: Kayla McBride. Although the Aces have six open roster spots and five when they bring back McBride, they could look elsewhere to fill out the rest of their roster.
While Robinson was a nice contributor for the Aces last season, Las Vegas cannot afford such an expensive option off the bench. With Cambage likely back into the fold in 2021, Swords can go back into retirement.
Burdick was a restricted free agent but the Aces did not extend a qualifying offer by the deadline, which converts her to an unrestricted free agent. Burdick played in a total of 17 games (regular and postseason) and was a non-factor for the club.
Rodgers played in every game in 2020 and has been with the Aces for two seasons. She has been a bench player throughout her time with Las Vegas and could see her spot go to Allen or Cannon in 2021.
McBride has been a fixture with the Aces franchise since 2014 and is one of the best two-guards in the league. However, her shooting numbers were down in 2020. Look for a multi-year deal as the Aces currently have just two players under contract in 2022.
The Aces have three draft picks that could factor into the mix, even though they will be picking near the back of the draft. A first round pick will account about $64,000 in 2021.
Long term, the Aces have quite a bit of flexibility but with multi-year deals expected for McBride and Cambage, their ability to keep all of their stars in 2022 does come into question. For now, the Aces still look to be title contenders.