WNBA MVP Jonquel Jones signs offer to return to Connecticut Sun

Connecticut Sun forward Jonquel Jones, the 2022 WNBA MVP, has signed the core qualifying offer to return to the Sun, the team announced Tuesday. Feb. 1 is the first official day that free agents can sign deals.

Jones was extended the offer on Jan. 10. The core designation, similar to the NFL's franchise tag, gives a team exclusive negotiating rights with a player. The team did not release contract details, but according to Her Hoops Stats, Jones' deal is for two years at $205,000 in 2022 and $211,150 in 2023.

The Sun had the league's best record last season at 26-6 and were the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. They were upset in the semifinals by eventual champion Chicago. Jones had 18 double-doubles; and averaged 19.4 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists 1.3 steals and 1.3 blocks in winning the MVP honor.

"This organization has believed in me since day one, and I definitely feel like we have unfinished business," Jones said of the quest to win the franchise's first WNBA title. "The fans want it, the front office wants it and the players want it. So now we just have to go out and get it done and bring a [championship] back to Mohegan Sun."

Jones, 28, was the No. 6 draft pick out of George Washington in 2016 by the Los Angeles Sparks, who traded her to Connecticut for guard Chelsea Gray. The deal worked for both teams as Gray helped Los Angeles win the 2016 WNBA title, and the 6-foot-6 Jones has become the centerpiece player for the Sun, leading them to the 2019 WNBA Finals.

"She is one of the most versatile and talented players in the world," Connecticut coach and general manager Curt Miller said. "She has a burning desire to improve, and we look forward to building upon the momentum of her MVP season."