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Sparks will lose Nia Coffey in free agency – Orange County Register

By on January 22, 2022 0

And then there was one – Amir.

Nia Coffey and her younger brother, Amir Coffey, playing for the Sparks and Clippers respectively, will not include Nia this summer.

Following Coffey’s breakout season in his first year with the Sparks last season, a source says the versatile forward will be leaving after agreeing a six-figure, multi-year contract, apparently with the Atlanta Dream, according to The Next Hoops. She was the Sparks’ only unrestricted free agent this offseason.

The Sparks — who reached an agreement on a qualifying offer with guard Te’a Cooper this week — entered free agency this year with six of their nine players on guaranteed deals and, factoring in caps, a maximum of $97,000 to be offered free of charge to agents (trade ban).

In 2023, however, it will be a very different scenario: all but two of their players will be free agents. (These two: Jasmine Walker and Arella Guirantes, both of whom are about to enter their second WNBA seasons.) This will free up significant cap space for the Sparks to potentially compete for stars.

The Sparks were Coffey’s fourth team in five WNBA seasons, and they offered her a much bigger role than at any of her previous stops – including with the Dream in 2019, when she averaged 5 points and 2.8 rebounds in 13.9 minutes.

Last season, Atlanta finished 8-23 in a turbulent season that was marred by an off-court altercation that resulted in the suspension of former Dream players Courtney Williams and Crystal Bradford for their roles in the away incident. an Atlanta-area club in May.

The team announced that they would not be re-signing any players, both being free agents.

In Los Angeles, Coffey, a 6-foot-1 forward, has proven a top teammate and dependable contributor, averaging 8.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game in 25 .2 minutes per game – all career highs, just like her. 3-point shooting accuracy: 41.7%.

The 26-year-old from Minnesota, Coffey’s emergence was one of the highlights of an otherwise disappointing and injury-plagued season for the team led by Derek Fisher, in his roles as general manager and of head coach. The Sparks finished 12-20 and missed the season playoffs after losing perennial All-Stars Candace Parker and Chelsea Gray in free agency.

Despite missing the playoffs last season, the Sparks are without a first-round pick in the 2022 draft, having traded what became Dallas’ fourth overall selection last season. They will have the 15th, 16th, 19th and 27th draft picks, for which the WNBA has not yet announced a date.

The Sparks traded the first-round pick for Walker, a 6-foot-3 forward, whom they drafted seventh last year but whose rookie season was cut short when she suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his second game.

This summer they will also bring in former UConn striker Gabby Williams, who will make his debut after sitting out last season due to France commitments.

And they hope their stars will be in much better health after having to play without Nneka Ogwumike for a career-high 14 games, Chiney Ogwumike for 25 and Kristi Toliver for 13 last season.