June 30, 2021ย 

Sparks make roster moves ahead of contract deadline

The moves appeared to leave the Sparks incredibly thin in the frontcourt

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The WNBAโ€™s deadline for all contracts to become guaranteed is June 30 and the Los Angeles Sparks made a few roster moves this week.

The team cut Bria Holmes who had made the roster out of training camp on a non-guaranteed contract. Holmes had not played in the Sparks past couple of games due to a foot injury she sustained on June 20 against the New York Liberty.

After getting off to a slow start to the season, Holmes had begun to find a role for herself in the rotation. She was able to play both forward positions and was becoming more consistent with her three-point shot. She also brought a lot of energy and toughness on the glass and the defensive end.

The team also announced that they had cut center Kristine Anigwe. Anigwe, who was initially cut by the Sparks in training camp, had returned under the WNBAโ€™s hardship exception allowing teams to sign temporarily sign players due to having less than ten available players.

Anigwe had worked her way into the starting lineup recently and she too had brought an element of toughness and physicality in the paint.

The moves appeared to leave the Sparks incredibly thin in the frontcourt with both Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike still out and Amanda Zahui B. the only real frontcourt player left on the roster.

But interior help appears to be on the way. According to Rachel Galligan of Winsidr, the Sparks are nearing an agreement with free-agent center Lauren Cox.

Cox was selected with the third overall pick in the 2020 draft by the Indiana Fever, but she was never given a real opportunity to play her way into the rotation. Her rookie season in the bubble was cut short due to her contracting COVID-19 and then suffering a knee injury.

This season, however, she appeared to be healthy but was averaging only 8.6 minutes and suited up in only 11 of the Feverโ€™s 16 games to this point.

Cox is a bit of a versatile frontcourt player who was part of a formidable duo alongside Kalani Brown on the Baylor team that won the 2019 NCAAW championship. She has a solid low post game and can step out and shoot from midrange. Itโ€™s a potential low-risk, high reward type move.

In another roster-related news, the Sparks also cut Karlie Samuelson who was also on a temporary hardship exception. But according to Galligan, the Sparks intend to bring Samuelson back and only cut her to make cap space to sign her and Cox.

Written by David Yapkowitz

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