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WNBA Commissioner’s Cup title game between Liberty, Lynx moved to UBS Arena due to NBA draft

NEW YORK — The Commissioner’s Cup championship game between the Minnesota Lynx and Liberty on June 25 has been moved from Barclays Center to UBS Arena on Long Island, the league announced Monday.

With the NBA draft set to take place at Barclays Center on June 26, the venue is unable to host the WNBA’s Commissioner’s Cup Final a day prior. The NBA’s process of preparing for the draft at Barclays Center creates a conflict with the Liberty-Lynx showdown.

“With the scheduling of the NBA draft at Barclays Center on June 26, the NBA created an unavoidable conflict for use of the building,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said. “We are working closely with the New York Liberty on this one-game relocation to UBS Arena and to provide the best possible experience for attendees and participants at the WNBA Commissioner’s Cup Championship. We apologize for any inconvenience to the Liberty’s season ticket holders and loyal fans.”

When schedules were released, the Liberty contacted the WNBA about the potential arena conflict, a source familiar with the situation told the New York Daily News. And when the Liberty clinched home-court advantage for the in-season tournament title game earlier this month, the team offered to play the July 2 regular-season matchup against the Lynx as the championship game, a source said.

Making that matchup a Commissioner’s Cup title game would’ve avoided both teams from adding another game to an already dense schedule. The Lynx, however, declined the offer, a source said.

The source added the league gave the Liberty the option of playing the title game in Minnesota. The Liberty declined that offer. The Liberty initially secured home-court advantage for the title game at Barclays Center after securing the better regular-season winning percentage between the two teams.

“We are excited for the opportunity to defend our Commissioner’s Cup title in New York, and we appreciate our fans’ unwavering support of our team,” Liberty CEO Keia Clarke said in a statement. “While we wish we could have brought this game to our fans in our home arena, we are grateful to UBS Arena for accommodating us and providing a world-class venue in New York.”

UBS Arena opened in 2021 and is home to the Islanders. The venue has hosted college basketball in the past, including matchups involving St. Johns and Iona.

Both Barclays Center and UBS Arena have game capacities around 17,000.

The Commissioner’s Cup is in its fourth year. The Liberty won last year’s Cup title after Jonquel Jones led her team to a win over the Las Vegas Aces in Michelob Ultra Arena.

Next week’s winner at UBS Arena will be awarded a $500,000 cash prize pool. Sponsor Coinbase has committed another $120,000 in cryptocurrency with $5,000 guaranteed for each player participating in the title game.

Team also earn donations for local organizations of their choosing.