When Liz Cambage became a free agent after the 2021 season, the general consensus was that there was one team that would more than likely sign her – the Los Angeles Sparks.
After all, the Sparks are the one team that Cambage has wanted to play for her entire career. Even when she returned to the WNBA with the Dallas Wings and later with the Las Vegas Aces, it was always Tinseltown that the Australian great always had her eyes on.
At first when she put out that tweet at the outset of free agency where she ripped the WNBA on its salary structure, there was a legitimate worry that she was finished with the W back then.
Then, eventually, the Sparks managed to talk turkey with Cambage and persuaded her to want to wear purple and gold and play at Crypto.com Arena. It appeared as if Cambage had the exact situation she wanted. Not only playing in Los Angeles, but playing under Fred Williams – the same Fred Williams who she built a close bond with at the Wings.
Unfortunately, that only lasted slightly past the All-Star break as Cambage has now asked for a contract divorce from the Sparks. She is the fifth WNBA player to receive said divorce from a team in 2022 – and that includes Tina Charles who got a similar “divorce” from the Phoenix Mercury and paved the way for her to join the Seattle Storm.
The Sparks were probably the one team that was most equipped to make it work with Cambage. Dallas certainly could not and Las Vegas certainly could not. If Los Angeles could not make it work, can any WNBA team make it work with her?
Already, speculation has began on if another team would try and pick her up. The reality of the situation is Cambage is projecting an image of someone who appears to be all but done with the WNBA.
She has, after all, been one of the biggest critics of its pay structure. Cambage is correct on this issue. After all it is the same pay structure that is responsible for Brittney Griner being in the unjust situation she is in over in that Russian jail cell.
Her reputation, though, has taken a hit with the biggest hit being a revelation on what may or may not have happened in a game with the Australian Opals against Nigeria prior to last year’s Olympics. Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike are of Nigerian descent.
It certainly did not help that she was not voted to this year’s All-Star Game in Chicago but she did manage to walk the red carpet at the ESPYs in Los Angeles.
And given how the Aces have performed better since Cambage left the team, there may be a growing consensus among WNBA front offices that despite the numbers Cambage still can put up on a game-by-game basis that she has become more of a liability than an asset.
About those Aces – it also does not help that Las Vegas managed to reach the WNBA Finals one year where she was not available with the team. Of course, that year was 2020 when Cambage did not play that season since she did not want to travel to the bubble.
It may not be ideal, but it may be time for WNBA fans to come to the acceptance that we may have seen Cambage on a W court for the final time. She has other interests outside the game that she wants to pursue – including modeling, endorsements and being an EDM DJ – and she would likely make more money off those than she would a WNBA salary.
In addition – one really wonders at this stage of her career and life how much of her desire to play for the Los Angeles Sparks had more to do with Los Angeles (and the celebrity lifestyle one can live there) than it did the Sparks.
If this is indeed the end for Cambage as a basketball player, the game will certainly miss her on the court and she will likely do a lot of post-career reflections on where things went wrong. The Nigeria issue may be a good place to start. But if she may simply no longer be in in it to win it as she was when she was competing for Olympic and FIBA gold medals plus championships in the WNBA and WNBL, it could be best for her to put away her jersey and sneakers in favor of modeling gear and DJ equipment.
Cambage may simply be ready to leave one arena in order to pursue big things in a few others.