LOS ANGELES – League sources told Yahoo Sports that Liz Campag was leisurely complaining in court on Saturday while playing against her former Las Vegas Aces. Her conviction stemmed from not getting enough after-touches from her Los Angeles Sparks teammates, which sources close to the team say was normal behavior for the four-time WNBA All-Star team.
Sources say her teammates couldn’t help but acknowledge Cambage’s indignation and, in exchange for the annoyance, began force-feeding her the ball no matter what was meant to be run. After Sparks’ embarrassing 84-66 loss, Cambridge rushed into the locker room to exit early from the ring after finishing with 11 points and five boards in 22 minutes. Before leaving the locker room, she had a message for her teammates:
“I can’t do this anymore. She stated before leaving, according to sources with knowledge of her departure.
Sources say her teammates were shocked by the timing, but not the end result.
On Tuesday, the Sparks family announced they had agreed to a “divorce from the contract.” With Cambage, she finished her only season after 25 games played with the organization.
Cambage could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.
Cambage had a WNBA struggle long before his hiatus in Los Angeles
The 6-foot-8 star was the out-of-the-box take on the franchise when she signed on as a free agent in February. She personally negotiated a one-year, $170,000 deal after her split from longtime agent Alison Galler.
Sparks has had two key players coming out in recent years in Candice Parker to Chicago Sky and Chelsea Gray to Ace. Cambage’s addition gave life to a potential championship window with another dominant big presence leading the way, similar to Lisa Leslie and Parker during Sparks’ glory days.
Cambage came with luggage.
She missed her way from Tulsa Shock in 2013, the team that drafted it with No. 2 overall picks in the 2011 WNBA Draft. Tulsa retained its rights and later became the Dallas Wings. From 2013-2018, she played abroad. Cambage requested a deal from Wings in 2019, a year after signing a multi-year contract.
Ahead of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, Cambridge – an Australian national and a member of the Australian national team – reportedly dubbed Nigeria’s players “monkeys” during training camp. She withdrew weeks before the tournament, due to mental health concerns.
Noting the “monkey” could not come easy on Sparks veterans – Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike – two sisters of Nigerian descent who are actively pleading for the FIBA to reject their request to play for the Nigeria national team.
Derek Fisher, head coach and general manager of Sparks until his class in June, brought Cambridge to Los Angeles.
Several players on the team felt that the position could help Sparks if she was focused and committed, but expressed concerns that she is known as a player that others don’t like to play with, sources said.
Despite those reservations, Fisher took on the star.
Sparks players deal with team management for Cambage and other club issues
Before the start of the 2022 WNBA season, things were already off to a rough start.
Cambage asked to wear No. 8, but Sparks informed her that the number will be retired in honor of Dilisha Milton Jones, sources say. So I asked no. 1, but that number belongs to striker Amanda Zahoe B.
According to sources, Fisher contacted Zahoe B. Cambage still wanted the number. Time passed, and sources say the management eventually made the call to give the number to the new start centre.
Sources said Zahui B learned that her number had been handed over via social media.
Sources say this approach caused the feathers to ruffled inside the locker room.
In an unrelated move, Sparks would suspend Zahui B for the 2022 season. According to the team source, Fisher was aware that her commitment abroad would have forced her to miss the first 13 games and the team needed to finish its roster before the regular season. A suspended player does not receive a salary for that season and the team retains the player’s rights.
Over the past few years, Sparks players have complained about a lack of leadership, delegation, and accountability from senior officials.
On film shoots, sources say it was a custom for Kambage to call up her teammates and accuse them of looking for her and not targeting her. Her teammates reply that she doesn’t lock up at the post and rarely comes back to defend when a spin occurs. It was an unresolved dilemma.
One of the team’s ongoing grievances is the club’s practice location.
Sparks trained at the Jump Beyond Sports complex for the majority of the season, and has been described as the worst training facility in the league, sources say. Sources said Fischer and the staff chose this location before the season, much to the chagrin of the players.
“AAU wouldn’t want to play there,” said one player.
Fisher did not respond to text message questions from Yahoo Sports.
This month, Sparks held some training sessions at the USC and Crypto.com Arena.
What’s next for “Liz Campag”?
Cambage had her lowest stats since her rookie season, averaging 13 points and 6.4 rebounds. She was not voted into the All-Star Game in Chicago. Cambage was spotted in Las Vegas at the height of the NBA Summer League and later tested positive for COVID-19. She missed two games before returning to play on July 21 against Atlanta and on Saturday against the Aces. This will be her last match with Sparks.
Where does Cambage go from here?
Sources say there are currently no WNBA teams interested. Some believe Cambage will use the time off to focus on her modeling and deejaying career, skills that are said to be great.
One burning question from WNBA players from across the league about Cambage: “If you can’t get to a locker room full of professional pros, where can she get to?”