July 26, 2022
Daily Briefing — July 26, 2022: Liz Cambage, Los Angeles Sparks agree to contract divorce
Also, right, the Commissioner's Cup
Happy Tuesday! Welcome to The Next’s Daily Briefing, featuring the W Roundup and the daily Watch List. As of this morning, the Los Angeles Sparks have agreed to a contract divorce with center Liz Cambage. The Ball Out originally reported Cambage’s plans to part ways with Los Angeles after signing with the Sparks this free agency. “We want what’s best for Liz and have agreed to part ways amicably,” said Eric Holoman, Managing Partner for the Sparks. The Next’s Howard Megdal reported earlier this year that Los Angeles was the only team willing to sign Cambage.
According to a league source, Cambage was part of the group that ousted Derek Fisher earlier this season. So Cambage is responsible for regime change in LA, then subsequently quit on the team run by one of her few remaining allies in the league, interim head coach Fred Williams. No final straw event was evident, the decision by Cambage to quit catching decision-makers by surprise.
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In other news, the Commissioner’s Cup Championship will be played this evening at 8:30 p.m. ET, as the Chicago Sky host the Las Vegas Aces at Wintrust Arena. What’s on the line? Glad you asked. For the winners, each player could receive $50,000 or more (the league has yet to qualify how much “in excess of” is), and the team’s representing non-for-profit will receive $10,000. For the runners up, each player could receive up to $10,000, and the team’s non-for-profit will receive $5,000. The Cup Championship MVP will receive an additional $5,000.
Currently, the WNBA’s current CBA guarantees an “aggregate player prize pool” of at least $750,000 for all special tournaments following the 2020 season. Yet, this year’s Commissioner’s Cup player prize pool totals just $500,000. The tournament’s sponsor, Coinbase, announced yesterday that it would add an additional $120,000 to the prize pool ($130,000 remains to be found), but with one catch: this portion of the prize pool would be paid out in Bitcoin.
It’s worth noting that, at present, Coinbase is under fire from nearly all sides. The company is under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), while the Department of Justice has charged three people with ties to Coinbase in connection to an insider trading case. How this will impact the company’s sponsorship of the league, and this portion of player pay, remains to be seen.
But first read…
- Our Arie Graham checks in with the Dallas Wings as they try to secure their playoff spot and put together a potential championship run.
- For The Chicago Sun-Times, Annie Costabile explores how Belgian players Emma Meesseman and Julie Allemand have contributed to the Sky, and how much their presence means for Sky fans.
- From the archives: August 23, 2000 — For The Washington Post, Athelia Knight explores the second expansion phase of the WNBA, from movement on player salaries, to attendance woes, and the struggles of building loyal fan bases.
Los Angeles: Waived center Liz Cambage in a contract divorce. Cambage will become an unrestricted free agent, and the Sparks are no longer obligated to pay out the rest of her salary.
Watch List, Tuesday, July 26
(All times in ET)
Las Vegas @ Chicago (Commissioner’s Cup Championship), 8:30 p.m., Amazon Prime
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Howard Megdal contributed reporting to this story.
Written by Isabel Rodrigues
Isabel Rodrigues (she/her) is a contributing writer for The Next from upstate New York who regularly covers 3x3 and the state of women's basketball in the U.S. and internationally. She also covers women's sports for The Daily Princetonian, the independent student newspaper of Princeton University.