The uncertainty over the ownership of the Liberty cleared up in January when the investment group fronted by Nets minority owner Joseph Tsai purchased the franchise from Madison Square Garden.
The team has already shifted its training camp and practice base from the MSG Training Center in Westchester to St. Joseph’s College in Brooklyn. The players are also living in Brooklyn. But a home arena beyond this season has yet to be finalized.
The Liberty will play most of their regular-season games at the Westchester County Center for a second straight season. But there will be two games played at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, an exhibition game Thursday night against the Chinese National team and a regular-season game in August.
The face of the franchise, who is from Queens, left no doubt Tuesday during the team’s media day at St. Joseph’s College about where she wants the Liberty to ultimately put down roots. Tina Charles wants a permanent home in Brooklyn.
“I think them moving us to Brooklyn and practicing and having us live in Brooklyn, that’s definitely a hope factor that change will come,” Charles said. “But it’s just a matter of when.”
Asked how she feels about Tsai becoming the owner, Charles said, “As long as it reflects that we eventually end up playing at Barclays. That’s the big thing, right?”
The six-time WNBA All-Star forward/center said it’s “extremely important” to return to play full-time in New York City for the sake of the fan base there.
“Hopefully, the New York Liberty will be back in the city and they’ll be able to have access to us,” Charles said. She also added that the Barclays Center "would be the only other ideal place that’s suitable for a professional women’s basketball team.”
The Liberty averaged 1,886 fans in 15 games last season at the County Center, which had a capacity of 2,319 for their games. With a record of 7-27, it was the worst season in franchise history.
But Charles wasn’t connecting any dots.
“What our record reflected was us personally,” Charles said. “It had nothing to do with anything. If that was the case, we would’ve been winning on the road.”
Katie Smith, who is back for her second season as coach, said, “I thought they did an excellent job of just trying to do their jobs. But it feels good to have clarity.”