Liz Cambage and Los Angeles Sparks agree to ‘divorce’

Four-time WNBA All-Star Liz Cambage and the Los Angeles Sparks are parting ways, the latest thorny end for the star center who just three months ago confidently declared the team was “where I want to be.”

On Tuesday, the Sparks announced that they and Cambage, 30, had agreed to a “contractual divorce” just five months after the team added him to its roster. The 6-foot-8 Australian averaged 13 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 25 games this season; She still holds the WNBA single-game scoring record with 53 points.

“It was a surprise — I didn’t know what the escalation was,” said Fred Williams, the team’s interim coach, during Tuesday’s media availability. “There could have been a lot more on the court, off the floor, who knows. After talking to him, he just felt that it was good for him personally to take this step. All we can do as an organization is support him and his decisions and just move on. “

For the team, he said, “It’s a new day, a new atmosphere for us in this gym.”

In a statement announcing the move, Eric Holloman, Sparks’ managing partner, said: “We want what’s best for Liz and have agreed to part ways amicably.” A Cambage representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Cambage’s departure is her third split with a WNBA team in five years. He also said he has “zero” interest in playing for his home country again. Cambage was accused of using racial slurs while playing for Australia ahead of the Tokyo Olympics; He denied the allegations.

Cambage, who grew up outside of Melbourne, Australia, was drafted by the WNBA’s Tulsa Shock in the second round of the 2011 draft as a cornerstone for the then-franchise. He took a four-season hiatus from the league before rejoining the team, which was relocated to Dallas and rebranded as the Wings. Cambage joined the Las Vegas Aces in 2019, but only after requesting a one-year deal from Dallas.

Although Cambage sat out the 2020 season due to health issues with Covid-19, she and the Aces reached the WNBA semifinals in 2019 and 2021. He left the team as an unrestricted free agent after the 2021 season, but he did so with a parting shot. by Criticizes the WNBA’s pay structure When the Aces signed Becky Hammon as head coach for $1 million.

Cambage has long targeted Spark. He joined the team as one of the league’s most visible — and sometimes polarizing — personalities, heading to Los Angeles with a lot of social media buzz and style to pack. Cambage has also been public about her difficult mental health journey and treatment for depression, which she says contributed to her difficult start with shock.

Cambage is signed to talent agency IMG, designs sportswear for Adidas and is the brand ambassador for Rihanna’s lingerie line Savage X Fenty. He is also a DJ and is signed to Wasserman Music.

“I was living someone else’s dream, you chase it for a minute,” he told The New York Times in May. “But now I realize it’s always been a dream of mine to be here in Los Angeles and play here.”

The Sparks, who missed the WNBA playoffs last year for the first time since 2011, added Cambage to a frontcourt that included Nneka Ogwumike and her sister Chin, both former No. 1 picks, in hopes of making it to the championship game. The team (12-15) is ranked sixth in the league.

Cambage, who said he had Just recovered from third bout of Covid-19, was coming off the second-lowest scoring season of her WNBA career. He was part of the Sparks’ rebuild under Derek Fisher, a former NBA player, as general manager. But the Sparks fired Fisher in June and replaced him with Williams, who also coached Cambage in Dallas.

“I have to respect what he wants,” Williams said. You have to listen because it could be something else, it could be something that’s not related to basketball.

Williams said he hopes Cambage gets another opportunity to play.

“I think he has a place now to check his own temperature,” he said.

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