Center Liz Cambage terminates deal with Los Angeles Sparks

Center Liz Cambage is leaving the Los Angeles Sparks in her first season with the squad, the team announced Tuesday, describing it as a contract divorce Cambage sought.

"It is with support that we share Liz Cambage's decision to terminate her contract with the organization," Sparks managing partner Eric Holoman said in a statement. "We want what's best for Liz and have agreed to part ways amicably. The Sparks remain excited about our core group and are focused on our run towards a 2022 playoff berth."

The four-time All-Star and former MVP candidate appeared in 25 games for the Sparks this year, recently coming off a bout with COVID-19. She averaged 13.0 points and 6.4 rebounds in 23.4 minutes per game before her departure.

The 30-year-old, who had previous stints in Tulsa/Dallas and Las Vegas, signed with the Sparks in February, a prized free agency acquisition for then-general manager and head coach Derek Fisher. Fisher was subsequently fired in June, 12 games into the season, with Fred Williams -- who was close to Cambage -- replacing him on the sideline on an interim basis.

Although the other high-profile player to agree to a contract divorce this season, Tina Charles, quickly found a new home with the Seattle Storm after leaving the Phoenix Mercury, it remains unclear what Cambage's future is in the WNBA. Cambage made it clear even before she was drafted into the league in 2011 that she wanted to play in L.A., a place she had idolized for its basketball and Hollywood culture since she was a kid. She did not appear in the WNBA in the 2012, 2014-17 and 2020 seasons, playing overseas and for the Australian national team instead, but she has effectively severed ties with the Opals after she was reportedly involved in a physical altercation and verbal exchange in a closed-door scrimmage last summer.

The Sparks have nine games remaining in the regular season and are looking to return to the playoffs after missing out for the first time in a decade last season. The Sparks are currently sixth in the WNBA standings, with three other teams within a half-game of catching them and the top eight teams overall reaching the playoffs.