The Los Angeles Sparks have parted ways with Liz Cambage in a contract divorce, otherwise known as a buyout. The news broke on Twitter Monday evening, and the team later confirmed the news in a press release Tuesday morning.
Liz Angeles started with such optimism, and to see it end in a contract divorce, just days after a blowout loss to her previous team and right before the season's final quarter is disappointing and unprecedented. As with many divorces, although it was announced as amicable, the wording implies that Cambage initiated this action.
"It is with support that we share Liz Cambage's decision to terminate her contract with the organization," Sparks Managing Partner Eric Holoman said. So what happened? In public, Cambage never mentioned any frustration or animosity towards the Sparks players or the organization.
Of course, players may never admit that, but her enthusiasm and support for this team seemed genuine. "I'm surrounded by girls I love, girls who understand me, girls who are going to push me to be better," Cambage said prior to the start of the season. Obviously, things changed somewhere down the line, and we will see in the coming days if we get more information about when and why.
On the court, Cambage didn't produce quite as well as the Sparks had hoped. Her 13.0 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks in 25 games this season were respectable but a bit below her career averages, and her worst statistical season in the WNBA since 2011. Even so, she was the second-best offensive weapon on the team, and everyone knows she can have an all-star performance on any given night. That cannot be replaced this late in the season. Now one of the Sparks' strengths, their depth at the four and five, becomes a weakness.
Believe it or not, despite the head coach being let go, the second star leaving, and all the injuries this team has endured, the Sparks are still right in the middle of playoff contention. They are currently the sixth seed, tied with four teams with 12 wins. With only nine games left, the Sparks to have two options, either find a way to win games and make the playoffs for the first time since 2020, or implode and let this moment be the straw that broke the camel's back. Their next game is Thursday, July 28 against Phoenix.