LOS ANGELES — The 2024 WNBA season is set to open in a few months, and the Los Angeles Sparks have hired a new general manager ahead of the upcoming draft where they hold the number two overall pick. The new GM, Raegan Pebley, is a former WNBA player from the late 90s and has spent the last 21 years as a head coach. She had also served as a TV analyst for the Dallas Wings but is now excited to return to Southern California, where she and her family started their journey.
Sparks head coach Curt Miller, Sparks assistant general manager Eli Horowitz and Pebley were made available for an introductory press conference on Tuesday. Pebley was formerly announced as the new general manager on Friday.
“I am so thankful for the opportunity that Eric Holoman and Karen Bryant have extended me to serve an organization that believes in the transformational impact women’s basketball can have on a community and society,” Pebley said. “The tradition and legacy of the Sparks has played a key role in the current trajectory and growth we are seeing in women’s sports. I am eager to partner with our players, front office, coaching staff and community as we foster a culture where our players are resourced with all the tools they need as they courageously chase the best version of themselves and compete for WNBA championships.”
Former Sparks general manager Karen Bryant will transition out of the GM role, but she will continue working with the front office and consulting on the business operations side.
“I want to thank Eric Holoman for the opportunity to serve as GM of the Sparks this past season,” Bryant said. “I’m proud of our recent accomplishments, including assembling a first-class staff led by head coach Curt Miller, signing key veterans in free agency, and acquiring multiple first-round picks for our future.”
It has been announced that Pebley will be leading the Sparks alongside Eli Horowitz, who has been promoted to assistant general manager. Pebley has made the transition from coaching to the front office, which can be a difficult move, but she was able to find a lane to help her drive in the right direction. In order to navigate this change successfully, Pebley got some advice from Brad Stevens, current Celtics GM, who moved from a head coaching role to a position in the front office.
“This is going to look different from being a coach now to being in the front-office space. But just the opportunity to be in the WNBA, be in L.A, who are leaders in that space, was something that I just could not pass up.” Pebley said during her introductory press conference.
On Tuesday, Miller, Horowitz, and Pebley shared their vision for the team, and it’s clear they are eager to make it one of the best in the league. With free agency about to open, some of the current players on the roster are due to become free agents and take meetings with other teams. Jordin Canada and Nneka Ogwumike are two of the most interesting free agents for the Sparks. However, Pebley is focused on securing the current roster first.
“It would be a mistake to just focus on the free agents, obviously that does demand attention, and it’s getting our attention, but I want to put first things first. That’s this current L.A. Sparks locker room.” said Pebley on Tuesday.
Curt Miller recently finished his first season as the coach for the (17-23) Sparks. Bryant’s first task was to find a coach who could lead the team to success, which she did by bringing in the right candidate for the job. However, Miller had significant influence in the hiring of Pebley due to their friendship of over 20 years. Miller and Pebley were both assistant coaches at Colorado State from 1999-2001.
The upcoming draft is the most important factor right now, as it is expected to feature one of the most talented players we’ve seen in years. Caitlin Clark from Iowa and Angel Reese from LSU are two of the most exciting players at the moment. The Sparks hold the second pick in the upcoming draft, it is likely that they will take Reese. Additionally, LA has the 12th overall pick in the draft, which means that two talented players will join the Sparks this upcoming season. The season is set to open on Wednesday, May 15th, against the Atlanta Dream at the Walter Pyramid at Long Beach State in Long Beach, CA. The Sparks will play their first five home games of the 2024 season at the Pyramid.