“LA, I Hope It’s Not Goodbye, but, See You Later”: Nneka Ogwumike Leaves LA Sparks After 12 Years to Become a Free Agent

Published 01/25/2024, 2:21 PM EST

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Nneka Ogwumike is one of the best players in the Women’s League. The 2016 WNBA champion has had a significant impact on the Los Angeles Sparks as her legacy is intertwined with the team’s history as one of the greatest to ever wear Purple and Gold. Moreover, she is the last remaining member of the L.A. team that made back-to-back appearances in 2016-17 and also won the title in 2016.

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Now, making a significant announcement, Ogwumike marks the end of an era for the LA Sparks. Let’s see how.

Nneka Ogwumike is a Free Agent

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The LA Sparks power forward has made a significant announcement of stepping away for the team to become a free agent. A recent Instagram post shared by ESPN W has been captioned, “Nneka Ogwumike has played her entire 12-year WNBA career with the Sparks since being drafted No. 1 overall in 2012 and helped LA win the WNBA championship in 2016, the same year she won MVP honors.”

Ogwumike shared her decision with the team on Wednesday in a message saying, “Hold on to what you have……I have SO much. So much love for the city that unconditionally embraced this Stanford kid 12 years ago. So much pride in being only a small piece of the legacy that is Championship City. So much pain and sweat with teammates, coaches, staff, and ownership that gave life to what it really means to be  SHOWTIME. So much gratitude for the fans and the people of LA that raised me. So much joy for what it means to be #30 in purple & gold. I have SO much because of the Los Angeles Sparks, and even more for my heart to hold on this season of change……LA, I hope it’s not goodbye, but ‘see you later’.”

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After she departed from the Los Angeles Sparks, Nneka entered free agency. Notably, in the WNBA, a player’s ability to enter free agency is determined by their years of service in the league.

Now Nneka can sign with any team as long as they’re not designated as a Core Player by their last team. In addition, any player with fewer than 5 years of service who does not receive Qualifying Offers also becomes an Unrestricted free agent.

So what happens now?

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Nneka’s way forward

This move has given her the freedom to negotiate with any team in the WNBA. Notably, she has already met with other WNBA teams namely, the Atlanta Dream, Chicago Sky, and Pheonix Mercury, and she will also be having a meeting with the New York Liberty and Seattle Storm. The meetings are specifically a part of the process where players and teams discuss potential contracts.

However, the official signings can only be made after a certain date, in this case, it is February 1st. Until then, fans and teams are in for a lot of speculation and anticipation. This year, the 33-year-old enters her 13th season in the WNBA as she remains one of the greatest players in the league.

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However, her departure from LA is definitely going to impact the team’s dynamics. More so, her arrival will certainly give a boost to the performance of the team she joins.

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Written by:

Dimple Gupta

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