LOS ANGELES — After the Los Angeles Sparks missed the playoffs this season, they begin to look towards the future. Multiple players on this current roster are entering free agency with the biggest being Nneka Ogwumike.
Ogwumike was drafted by the Sparks in 2012 as the No. 1 overall pick and has become one of best players in WNBA history. She was the 2012 WNBA Rookie of the Year and later became the 2016 WNBA MVP and a WNBA Champion in the same year.
There have been many ups and downs for Ogwumike throughout her career with the Sparks but in 2022, she decided to sign a one-year deal to stay and see what new head coach Curt Miller and new general manager Karen Bryant could do.
Ogwumike recently talked to The Sporting Tribune during her exit interview and she said she wants to leave a legacy moving forward. This season is a stepping stone to where she wants to be in the future. Over the last few months, she continued to break records and she surpassed Candace Parker to become the second all-time leading scorer in Sparks franchise history. “I think it’s way too early to talk about that but you know, you just got to trust the process,” she said.
The decision for Ogwumike is simple. She can either decide to move on from the Sparks like Candace Parker did a few years ago, or stay in Los Angeles and work towards competing for another championship. Ogwumike talked highly of her team through her exit interview and she said she loved having Zia Cooke on the team this year. As the veteran on the team, she can certainly see what’s coming in the upcoming years for the Sparks.
“She’s the future” said Ogwumike on Cooke.
“I thought she did a great job, every rookie has growing pains” said Sparks guard Jordin Canada said when asked about Zia Cooke’s development this year.
Canada is another player who is open to testing free agency. “We’ll see where free agency goes, I would like to keep my options open,” she said.
Miller talked earlier in the season about his game day meetings with Canada, knowing she’s the captain on the floor, he always made sure they were both on the same page every game.
“How confident I was with myself and trusting the work I’ve done” said Canada about her success she had this season on the court.
Ogwumike and Canada were the most consistent players on the Sparks last season and they will likely need them both to return if they are able to compete for a championship next year.