Liz Cambage’s basketball career in America could well be over after her surprise departure from the Los Angeles Sparks.
The Sparks confirmed overnight they had agreed to a “contract divorce” with Cambage effective immediately, ending her time with the team midway through the WNBA season.
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“It is with support that we share Liz Cambage’s decision to terminate her contract with the organisation,” Sparks managing partner Eric Holoman said in a press release.
“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.”
Damning details have come to light in the wake of Cambage’s exit from the Sparks, with issues arising before the season began, according to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes.
Cambage had requested to wear a retired jersey number, before turning her attention to a number that belonged to current player Amanda Zahui B.
Zahui B. declined Cambage’s request, but the Aussies insistence saw management wilt and hand over the number 1 jersey. Zahui B. only learnt the news via social media.
The handling ruffled feathers among the team.
In film sessions Cambage repeatedly threw her teammates under the bus and blast them for not getting her the ball enough.
Cambage stormed out of the locker room after playing her last game for the Sparks against her former team the Las Vegas Aces on the weekend.
“I can’t do this anymore. Best of luck to you guys,” she stated before storming out, sources with knowledge of her departure told Yahoo.
Interim head coach Fred Williams said Cambage struggled with conditioning and facing double and triple-team match-ups, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Cambage made comments about her intentions to leave the Sparks to multiple people within the organisation, according to Girls Talk Sports TV, which reported “chemistry issues” among Los Angeles players that date back to late May.
Cambage’s career has been plagued by controversy in recent years. She pulled out of the Opal’s Olympic campaign last year after allegations she used a racial slur towards Nigerian players during a warm-up game.
Opals captain Jenna O’Hea confirmed in May Cambage had told the Nigerian players: “Go back to your third world country.”
News Corp revealed she physically lashed out at Nigerian players and referred to her opponents as “monkeys”, which Cambage has denied.
The Australian has slammed the Opals and said she had “zero” interest in representing her country at this year’s World Cup.
In light of Cambage’s departure from the Sparks, several basketball pundits have shared a clip of a press conference from just last week, where she is sitting next to Sparks teammates, Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike.
In the video, the Ogwumike sisters — who are Nigerian — can be seen squirming uncomfortably and even rolling their eyes as Cambage speaks about her return from Covid-19.
Lincoln Anthony Blades tweeted: “Let’s just call it what it is: the Sparks signed Liz Cambage without notifying their star players (Nneka & Chiney — both Nigerian who KNEW what she did) because they didn’t really give a s*** about/didn’t investigate her beef with the Nigerian team.”
It’s unclear where Cambage could move next to continue her basketball career.
Next Hoops reported the Sparks were the only team willing to sign Cambage during the off-season, meaning there may be no takers left in the American league for the 30-year-old centre.
SB Nation’s Brad Klopfer wrote: “Would assume that Cambage has played her last game in the WNBA, which is a bummer … love her or hate her, she’s unquestionably been one of the most entertaining players and personalities in league history.”
WNBA reporter Richard Cogen reported Cambage’s divorce agreement saw her paid out $203,000 — “a pro-rated portion of the deal she signed in the off-season, based on how long she was on the roster.”
Cambage averaged 13.0 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 25 games with the Sparks this season.
The four-time WNBA All-Star joined Los Angeles after two years with the Las Vegas Aces.
Cambage’s departure continues a turbulent season for the Sparks heading into the WNBA playoffs.
Derek Fischer, a five-time NBA champion with the LA Lakers, parted ways with the Sparks after they started the season poorly.
– with the New York Post