The Canberra Capitals are locked in a fight to retain their stars as rival WNBL clubs come knocking with big money offers on the open market.
The WNBL free agency window opened at midday on Wednesday with all bar one of the Capitals' squad from last season, Mikaela Ruef, off-contract and free to negotiate with rival teams.
Opals squad members Marianna Tolo, Kelsey Griffin and Maddison Rocci are high on the Capitals' hit list with coach Paul Goriss keen to retain the bulk of his starting five, rounded out by Keely Froling. Jade Melbourne is college-bound.
Tolo had been weighing up a stint overseas while Rocci and Froling are among a group likely to attract offers from rival WNBL clubs.
Goriss is hoping to retain the bulk of his roster, which bowed out in last year's semi-finals to end a run of two consecutive championships, with the Opals trio high on the list of priorities.
"Free agency is a different beast with payments, what other teams might offer, what opportunities girls may get at other teams," Goriss said.
"It's just a moving thing at the moment, but my preference would be to keep those three. There are going to be other opportunities, whether it be overseas or other teams.
"All three of those are high on our priority list. Realistically, just about everyone we had last season, I'd like to keep.
"Obviously it wouldn't be one through to 12, we've got to get a little bit more depth on our bench. As far as our starting group goes and the majority of our bench, I'd like to keep the majority.
"We were close. When we played our best basketball, we beat every team in the competition last season. On bad days, we lost to teams we probably shouldn't have.
"The nucleus there is of a good team. The experience, camaraderie and chemistry we have is there and we're building on that."
The Capitals are edging closer to locking in a handful of players as Goriss scours the free agency list intent on finding more scorers and adding depth in key positions.
Gemma Potter has emerged as another target after she opted out of her commitment to UCLA in the United States college system.
"Losing Kia [Nurse] and Oli [Epoupa] in those import spots meant we need a little bit more scoring than we had last season, and just a little bit more depth," Goriss said.
"Last season was a different season with COVID. Looking back, too many in that two-three position. We've got to have less of that and get some more depth in the bigs, and look at opportunities for where we fill that 3 spot that originally we had Kia in.
"Whether Gemma Potter comes into that, because she has chosen not to go to college, she fits that kind of role if she chooses to sign here.
"We're just seeing what kind of people are on the free agency list to start with and what skill set we need."