Sports

Liz Cambage and the Los Angeles Sparks Agree to a ‘Divorce’

The four-time WNBA All-Star Liz Cambage and the Los Angeles Sparks are parting methods, the newest thorny ending for the star middle who solely three months in the past confidently declared that the group was “the place I need to be.”

On Tuesday, the Sparks introduced that they and Cambage, 30, had agreed to a “contract divorce” simply 5 months after the group added her to its roster. A 6-foot-8 Australian, she averaged 13 factors, 6.4 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 25 video games this season; she nonetheless holds the WNBA single-game scoring report with 53 factors.

“It was a shock — I did not know what actually escalated it,” Fred Williams, the group’s interim coach, stated at a media availability on Tuesday. “Lots of it might have been issues off the court docket, off the flooring, who is aware of. Having conversations together with her afterwards, it simply felt it was good for her personally to make that transfer. All we will do as a company is help that and her choices and simply transfer on.”

For the group, he stated, “it is a new day, new environment, for us on this fitness center.”

In a assertion saying the transfer, Eric Holoman, a managing accomplice for the Sparks, stated, “We need what’s greatest for Liz and have agreed to half methods amicably.” A consultant for Cambage didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

Cambage’s departure is her third cut up with a WNBA group in 5 years. She additionally stated she has “zero” curiosity in taking part in once more for her dwelling nation. Cambage was accused of utilizing a racial slur in opposition to opponents whereas taking part in for Australia in the lead-up to the Tokyo Olympics; she has denied the accusations.

Cambage, who grew up outdoors Melbourne, Australia, was drafted second general by the WNBA’s Tulsa Shock in 2011 as a cornerstone for the then-struggling franchise. She took a four-season hiatus from the league earlier than rejoining the group, which had relocated to Dallas and rebranded as the Wings. Cambage joined the Las Vegas Aces in 2019, however solely after demanding a commerce out of Dallas one 12 months into a multiyear contract.

Although Cambage sat out the 2020 season due to Covid-19 well being considerations, she and the Aces made the WNBA semifinals in 2019 and 2021. She left the group as an unrestricted free agent after the 2021 season, however she did so with a parting shot by criticizing the WNBA’s pay structure when the Aces signed Becky Hammon as head coach for $1 million.

Cambage had lengthy set her sights on the Sparks. She joined the group as one in all the league’s most seen — and at occasions polarizing — personalities, going to Los Angeles with a giant social media following and a fashion that packed a punch. Cambage has additionally been public about her tough psychological well being journey and therapy for despair, which she has stated contributed to her rocky begin with the Shock.

Cambage is signed to the expertise company IMG, has modeled sportswear for Adidas and is a model ambassador for Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty lingerie line. She can also be a DJ and is signed to Wasserman Music.

“I had been dwelling another person’s dream, chasing that for a minute,” she instructed The New York Times in May. “But now I’ve realized that this has at all times been my dream, being right here in LA and taking part in right here.”

The Sparks, who missed the WNBA playoffs final 12 months for the first time since 2011, added Cambage to a frontcourt that included Nneka Ogwumike and her sister Chiney, each former No. 1 general picks, in hopes of transferring into championship rivalry. The group (12-15) is in sixth place in the league.

Cambage, who stated she had recently recovered from her third bout of Covid-19, was enduring the second-lowest scoring season of her WNBA profession. She was a part of a Sparks rebuild beneath Derek Fisher, the former NBA participant who was introduced on as normal supervisor. But the Sparks fired Fisher in June and changed him with Williams, who additionally coached Cambage in Dallas.

“I’ve to respect what she desires,” Williams stated. “You have to hear as a result of it could possibly be one thing else, could possibly be one thing that is not associated to basketball.”

Williams stated he hopes Cambage has one other alternative to play.

“I feel she has room proper now to verify the temperature of herself,” he stated.

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