Kahleah Copper wants WNBA teams in her hometown of Philadelphia

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Kahleah Copper knows the trophy is in one of her bags. She’s just not quite sure which one, so a rifle through luggage is in order.

That’s a fitting analogy for the Chicago Sky champion and WNBA Finals MVP as she enters her first offseason as an unlimited free agent. Copper, who is queuing for a nice raise, will be one of the main players in a group that includes five league MVP winners. But she’s not sure right now which way she’s leaning – or at least she’s not saying.

“Chicago is definitely a place I really want to be, but I have not experienced a really free agency,” Copper told Yahoo Sports from Mountain Dews’ natural NBA2K course at Millennium Park in Chicago. “So I just want to approach it with an open mind, but I really love the city of Chicago. I just have to make decisions and we’ll see when it comes.”

Copper spent the day of the Chicago Bulls’ home opener last week continuing the party she helped open when Sky won their first WNBA title in franchise history five days before. She rose to the green 2K track with 60 lucky fans and tasted different versions of MTN DEW while the company continued its support for the NBA and WNBA. The Sky cheered on the Bulls from a suite at United Center that night and even received cheers for bringing the sports-loving city another title.

“I love our fans. I love being able to play downtown so people can get out,” Copper told Yahoo Sports. “I just love the community and everything that comes with the city because I’m such a city girl.”

The party will soon be quiet as players, including Copper, head abroad for their second job and the front office decides how to deal with what looks to be another splashy free agent period for the league. The franchise has six unlimited free agents that include Courtney Vandersloot, Allie Quigley, Stefanie Dolson and Copper, according to data from Her Hoop Stats.

Copper, 27, re-signed with Sky on a $ 330,000 two-year deal as a restricted free agent in 2020 after meeting at a cafe with head coach James Wade, who told her she was ready to fill larger shoes. After winning the final of Game 4, Wade told reporters they knew she would become the final MVP.

When fulfilled, she’s likely looking at a supermax deal up to $ 228,094 a year – an increase of $ 63,000 a year – if she chooses to stay with Chicago. Other teams can offer $ 196,267 as a maximum.

Kahleah Copper wants to see expansion in Philadelphia

Kahleah Copper gets 3-point shots on the Mountain Dew NBA 2K course ahead of the Chicago Bulls home opener.  (Attached picture)

Kahleah Copper gets 3-point shots on the Mountain Dew NBA 2K course ahead of the Chicago Bulls’ home opener. (Attached picture)

One place that may not sign her, at least this particular offseason, is a franchise in her hometown of Philadelphia. Commissioner Cathy Engelbert confirmed that “enlargement is on the horizon” in the coming years, and Philly has been the target of the conversation for that. Washington Mystics pointguard and Athletes Unlimited signing Natasha Cloud said she was “trying my best to bring a team back to Philly.”

Copper, who is a native of North Philadelphia, told Yahoo Sports that she has had conversations with Cloud, a native of the West Side Broomall, about how important it is to bring a team to the area.

“I’m not directly involved, but that would mean so much because there are a lot of great players coming out of the city of Philadelphia,” Copper said. “So to be straight in the negotiations to have a WNBA team here, it’s just great. I think it would be great for the city and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens.”

Philly also proudly calls Dawn Staley one of his own, and like the current South Carolina coach, Copper has spent time on a scrapbook while still playing professionally. Before heading abroad, she plans to come to a Purdue University Northwest match after working as their assistant coach last season.

Copper on offseason plans, future for WNBA

The Rutgers alumnus has a few weeks before she travels to Salamanca, Spain, where she will play for Perfumerias Avenida. The club lost to Russian powerhouse UMMC Ekaterinburg in last spring’s EuroLeague championship.

WNBA players do not have the luxury of relaxing and honing skills out of season, so while Copper said she would work on consistently hitting 3-point shots (30.6% in 2021), which would keep the defense honest (yet more than now)) and made her quick first steps to the basket even more problematic. And she will focus on an important part of Sky’s offensive.

“Being a better pass player will really open up a lot of different things for my game, so just work on my pass [and] sharpen the skills I already have, ”she said.

The 2022 leisure period and training camps will be the last before a new clause in the collective agreement allows the league to fine and even suspend players for not showing up on time from their overseas commitments. Some have questioned whether it is a good idea, but when asked about the clause, Copper was more focused on the bigger picture.

“I think the WNBA has made great progress,” Copper told Yahoo Sports. “When we get into this 25th season, just after seeing all the progress that the league has made, I think we’re in a really good place for 25 years. In the years to come, I just want to support the league and help the one about growing, but I think that time is coming.Comparing it with the NBA, as everyone does, the NBA is 75 years inside. What did they look at in year 25?

“I just think we’re growing, we’re growing together in a really good place, and I’m just excited to be able to lay a foundation and continue to support the league for the young stars who come next. ”

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