- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 11, 2020

The Washington Mystics announced they have re-signed 2019 WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne to a four-year contract.

The move itself can be considered a mere formality, as Delle Donne has not expressed interest in leaving the team to play elsewhere and the Mystics would not have wanted to play hardball with the anchor of their 2019 WNBA championship team.

But the terms of the deal were not disclosed, and Delle Donne could be in for a big pay raise thanks to the WNBA’s new collective bargaining agreement.

The WNBA’s maximum salary rose from $117,500 to $215,000 with the new CBA, introduced last month. According to High Post Hoops’ WNBA salary database, Delle Donne made $115,000 last year.

“Last year bringing a Mystics championship home to D.C. was beyond special,” Delle Donne said in a statement. “The fans who supported us, and the closeness we had as a team, how hard we all worked together led to an incredible outcome.

“Ted (Leonsis) and Sheila (Johnson, Mystics president) sowed the seeds for this. They have built an amazing organization, and they along with my teammates, Coach (Mike) Thibault and his coaching staff, and everyone at the Mystics welcomed me and Amanda with open arms and made this our home. I’m thrilled to be returning for another four years and look forward to defending our title this season in front of the best fans in the world.”

When free agency opened Monday, another integral piece of the Mystics’ championship squad, Kristi Toliver, signed a three-year contract with the Los Angeles Sparks.

The Mystics have one other crucial free agent to re-sign: Emma Meesseman, the 2019 WNBA Finals MVP. Coach and general manager Mike Thibault told the Washington Post that he had a verbal agreement from Meesseman to re-sign with the Mystics.

That means the 2020 roster will look almost the same as the squad that won the franchise’s first WNBA title last year: With Delle Donne and Meesseman back but without Toliver.

Elena is the most impactful player in the history of the Washington Mystics and her commitment to us three years ago set the stage for us to make our championship run possible,” Thibault said in a statement. “I am thrilled that she has signed with us for four more years and will lead us as we continue to build on the culture of excellence that we have established here in D.C.”

Delle Donne underwent surgery Jan. 24 to repair three herniated disks she suffered during the 2019 postseason. The Mystics expect her to return to the court in time for the season opener May 16.

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