The first domino of WNBA free agency has fallen, as 2016 MVP Nneka Ogwumike has informed the Los Angeles Sparks that she will not be returning to the only franchise she has played for since being drafted No. 1 in 2012. This change in direction could allow the Sparks to commit to a rebuild as they clean up the wreckage of the Derek Fisher era.

Why It Matters

Ogwumike's departure marks the end of an era for the Sparks and raises questions about the team's future trajectory and the impact on the upcoming WNBA season and team dynamics.

By the Numbers
  • Ogwumike was the last remaining member of the L.A. team that made back-to-back Finals appearances in 2016-17 and won the title in 2016.
  • The departure of the eight-time All-Star and six-time all-WNBA selection allows the Sparks to fully commit to a rebuild as they clean up the wreckage of the Derek Fisher era.
State of Play
  • L.A. has more roster spots and minutes to commit to young players due to Ogwumike's departure.
  • The team has the opportunity to flip their veteran players for future assets, allowing them to invest in their long-term strategic development.
  • Ogwumike is considering several potential destinations, including the Atlanta Dream, Chicago Sky, Phoenix Mercury, New York Liberty, and Seattle Storm.
What's Next

Ogwumike is set to meet with multiple teams before deciding on her next destination, and her decision will likely have significant implications for the WNBA landscape and the competitive balance of the league.

Bottom Line

Ogwumike's departure signals a significant shift for the Sparks, opening up opportunities for young talent and initiating a new phase for the franchise. The outcome of her decision will not only impact the team she joins but also contribute to shaping the future landscape of the WNBA.