The Los Angeles Sparks had been an unmitigated catastrophe in 2022. They missed the playoffs for the second season in a row, their coach parted ways with the group early within the season and Liz Camabge went by means of a contract divorce with the Sparks after a troublesome loss in opposition to the eventual WNBA champion Las Vegas Aces.
The Sparks have rebuilt their entrance workplace and now have Karen Bryant as the general manager and Curt Miller as their head coach.As they head into free company, the group has loads of open roster spots and plenty of cap house. The query is, what are they going to do with it?
By the numbers*
Free brokers (sort) (2022 common wage)
- Lexie Brown (unrestricted) ($72,141)
- Jordin Canada (unrestricted) ($98,000)
- Chiney Ogwumike (unrestricted) ($116,390)
- Nneka Ogwumike (unrestricted) ($196,267)
- Brittney Sykes (unrestricted) ($113,300)
- Kristi Toliver (unrestricted) ($196,100)
Cap house: $777,165
Evaluation: What has occurred thus far
The Sparks have been some of the energetic groups in free company. They began by buying and selling Jasmine Walker, Olivia Nelson-Ododa, and Kianna Smith for Connecticut Solar guard Jasmine Thomas and the No. 10 choose within the 2023 draft. The commerce reunites JT with Curt Miller, offers the Sparks a first-round choose this 12 months and clears up a few roster spots.
Los Angeles made one other splash by buying and selling Amanda Zahui B and a 2023 second-round choose for Las Vegas Aces ahead Dearica Hamby and a 2024 first-round choose. Hamby has been an awesome rotation participant for the champion Aces. Whereas the WNBPA investigates Las Vegas’ handling of Hamby’s contractfrom the Sparks’ perspective, they acquired an awesome participant. Curt Miller and firm hope a brand new alternative will deliver out the most effective within the two-time All-Star.
With over $700,000 in cap house left and loads of high quality gamers rumored to be eager about LA, together with former Sparks star Candace ParkerLos Angeles is way from executed making strikes this offseason.
Evaluation: What we thought might occur
Precedence No. 1 for Curt Miller and the Sparks needs to be to deliver again the Ogwumike sisters. Nneka has been the face of the group, she’s been a Spark her complete profession and she or he’s coming off an MVP- degree season. Chiney continues to enhance and it has been made clear by each sisters that they’re a package deal deal. If the Sparks fail to deliver them again, that tells me one in every of two issues. Bryant and Miller both did a poor job convincing the Ogwumikes of their plan, or they’ve a really drastic revamp in thoughts and need to fully clear home even of their greatest gamers.
The Los Angeles Sparks prolonged a Qualifying Supply to Kianna Smith @Winsidr
— Rachel Galligan (@RachGall) January 14, 2023
In line with Rachel Galligan, the Sparks led a qualifying supply to Kianna Smith. So let’s assume Smith is on the group (though simply because they prolong a proposal does not imply she can be on the roster). For Kristi Toliver and Jordin Canada, I count on them to be gone. Toliver is older, costly and continuously battling accidents and Canada I simply do not suppose would match a Curt Miller offense. Lexie Brown and Brittney Sykes have each expressed wanting to remain in LA and performed nice down the stretch , however I am uncertain how Curt Miller views them and what provides they might get from different groups. So, to me, they’ve 50/50 odds of returning.
If LA retains the Ogwumikes, Slim and Brown, that offers them two roster spots left and with two second-round draft picks, which means not a lot motion for the Sparks this offseason. I doubt that occurs. Seemingly a few of their high quality gamers won’t return and a participant like Chennedy Carter could also be on the transfer. Sure, she is an explosive offensive participant, however she’s had issues off the courtroom in Atlanta and in LA final 12 months, which pressured her out of video games with a number of DNP coaches’ choices primarily based on Points like that sound like one thing the Sparks will need to avoid throughout the retooling of their roster, even given her expertise and the way a lot they gave up for her throughout the preliminary commerce.
So, who ought to the Sparks go after if they’re consumers this low season? One identify to keep watch over is Candace Parker. She was a lifelong Spark earlier than she left for her hometown group, the Chicago Sky, and now that Derek Fisher is gone, perhaps she will be able to return to LA? Talking of Chicago, Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley are an attention-grabbing duo. The Vanderquigs seem like on the transfer; perhaps LA sunshine might persuade them to play one other season collectively? One other free agent to bear in mind is Kia Nurse. She’s an obtainable guard and I consider a possible improve at that place.
Additionally, buying and selling is all the time an possibility; Skylar Diggin-Smith is a participant I would keep watch over. She has had her points in Phoenix; a change of surroundings and a lead function as the focus of the Sparks offense may very well be transfer for all events concerned.
This low season is an enormous one for Los Angeles. It is the primary below Miller and Bryant and back-to-back shedding seasons is unacceptable. Seeing how they repair a multitude made by the earlier regime can be attention-grabbing and that begins now with free company.