Liberty Will Place “Core Designation” on Star Breanna Stewart, Says GM Jonathan Kolb

Breanna Stewart with USA Basketball in 2020.
Breanna Stewart with USA Basketball in 2020. Photo by Heuler Andrey/Agif/REX/Shutterstock (5825040ag)

Playing in her first season with the New York Liberty, two-time WNBA MVP Breanna Stewart didn’t manage to bring the franchise its first championship. However, Stewart will have an opportunity to try again in 2024.

Speaking with reporters on Friday, Liberty general manager Jonathan Kolb said that the team will place a “Core Designation” on Stewart. Core designation is similar to the franchise tag in the NFL. WNBA teams can “core” one player each offseason, allowing them to have exclusive negotiation rights. Cored player can either be signed to a multi-year extension or play on a one-year deal worth WNBA’s supermax salary.

“Stewie will 100% be cored. She will not be an unrestricted free agent,” Kolb said.

Stewart, who signed with Liberty in February after seven years with Seattle Strom, said that she isn’t surprised with Liberty’s move.

“It’s my first time being cored. Not surprising,” said Stewart. “I’m excited for what we’re doing here in New York and with the Liberty,” she said Friday. “I’m looking forward to it for many years to come.”

Stewart finished the 2023 WNBA season averaging a career-high 23.0 points and 3.8 assists while adding 9.3 rebounds. She was named WNBA MVP at the end of the regular season while also collecting her fifth All-Star nod. The 29-year-old also led Liberty to the WNBA Finals where they lost to defending champions Las Vegas Aces in four games.