The Los Angeles Sparks secured the return of a giant identify free agent, star ahead Nneka Ogwumike.
The 2016 league MVP has performed all 11 of her seasons within the WNBA with the Sparks.
And she’ll stay with the crew that drafted her over a decade in the past after agreeing to a one-year contract with the Sparks, in accordance with ESPN.
Ogwumike’s signing comes at a pivotal level for the Sparks. The crew lately misplaced free agent signee Stephanie Talbot for the season resulting from a knee damage. And Katie Lou Samuelson is anticipated to overlook the complete 2023 season resulting from her being pregnant.
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Ogwumike has beforehand expressed her want to return to the crew, and she or he labored with the Sparks entrance workplace to work out a deal that may give the group some wage cap flexibility.
Ogwumike has been named to 5 All-WNBA groups and is a five-time All-Defensive participant. She was averaged 16.2 factors and seven.2 rebounds per recreation in her profession.
“I really feel like I’m reaching a pivotal level in my profession and understanding what I need it to imply,” Ogwumike instructed ESPN. “I’m excited to see a variety of the enhancements that we’re making. I’m grateful to be surrounded by each gamers, coaches and employees which have a better imaginative and prescient for the group.
“I really feel actually good with the place I’m at and the way I’m progressing as an athlete. I need to have the ability to win and try this with some nice folks. I actually do imagine on this group.”
Ogwumike’s MVP marketing campaign helped elevate the Sparks to a championship in 2016. But the franchise has suffered disappointment in recent times and missed the playoffs the final two seasons.
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Five-time NBA champion Derek Fisher was relieved of his head teaching duties in June 2022. Fred Williams was named the interim coach and completed out final season earlier than Curt Miller took over full-time teaching duties.
Miller mentioned Ogwumike was one of many causes he determined to affix the franchise.
“The conversations with Nneka and the collaborations we had … we needed to do that with gamers who actually need to be with the Sparks,” Miller mentioned. “This is a enjoyable, new period, and Nneka is the centerpiece of what we’ll attempt to do. Her communication all through this entire free company has been an unimaginable partnership.
“And she’s an impressive, versatile participant. She in all probability does not get the credit score she deserves for the way versatile she has been.”
The Sparks additionally signed free Chiney Ogwumike, Nneka’s sister. Chiney beforehand performed for Miller in Connecticut.
The Ogwumike sisters spent two seasons in school collectively on the Stanford Cardinal girls’s basketball crew, and each have been with the Sparks since 2019.
“We’re actually two entities which might be stronger collectively,” Nneka mentioned. “It’s at all times one thing to be celebrated. And I actually need to take that to a different degree in profitable with my sister.”
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