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Liz Cambage has shocked the basketball world after splitting with the Los Angeles Sparks after just 25 games with the WNBA team.
The team announced on Tuesday that they've agreed to a 'contract divorce' with the 30-year-old Aussie star.
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"It is with support that we share Liz Cambage's decision to terminate her contract with the organisation," Sparks managing partner Eric Holoman said.
"We want what's best for Liz and have agreed to part ways amicably. The Sparks remain excited about our core group and are focused on our run towards a 2022 play-off berth."
There is now huge uncertainty surrounding the future of the four-time All-Star centre.
The bombshell news comes just five months after Cambage said “it was LA or out for me. There was nowhere else I wanted to be," after signing with the Sparks following two years with the Las Vegas Aces.
She averaged 13 points and 6.4 rebounds per game this season.
According to Kristina Williams of 'Girls Talk Sports TV', 'chemistry issues' reportedly arose between Cambage and the Sparks as early as late May.
Williams reported on Tuesday that Cambage 'quit' and had "made verbal comments about her intentions to leave the Sparks to multiple people within the organisation."
Cambage had long talked about wanting to play in Los Angeles, but things reportedly turned sour quickly.
Fans were quick to point out the body language of Cambage's teammates in a video that did the rounds on social media earlier in July.
Liz Cambage: “It’s nice to be back. I’m just happy to be here at the moment,” said Cambage when describing her third time testing positive COVID on July 14. This interview is from July 21, which was her second to last game as a member of the Los Angeles Sparks. #WNBATwitter pic.twitter.com/oY19k3PQhg
— John W. Davis (@johnwdavis) July 26, 2022
According to the Los Angeles Times, the Sparks' interim head coach Fred Williams had said Cambage struggled with conditioning and facing double-and triple-team matchups.
The Aussie recently missed games after a bout with Covid-19 and was listed as out for "return to competition conditioning."
The Sparks fired head coach Derek Fisher in June, after Cambage was his big free agency signing of 2022 after the team missed the playoffs for the first time since 2011.
Liz Cambage's tumultuous time
The split follows a turbulent period for the 30-year-old, who quit playing for the Opals after withdrawing from the Australian team citing mental health concerns ahead of the Tokyo Olympics after being embroiled in claims of racism.
It was claimed she told Nigerian players to "go back to your third world country" during a pre-Olympics warm-up match and called them 'monkeys'.
Cambage said via social media that she was "disappointed and hurt", rejecting the report of the incident as "inaccurate and misleading".
"I did not use the racial slur towards the Nigerian team that has been circulating," she posted on Instagram.
Cambage was independently investigated and issued a formal reprimand - but not suspended or fined - after the altercation.
The report also alleged that before the match, Cambage (whose father is Nigerian) had told a Nigeria player she wished she was playing for them because her Australian teammates were racists.
Cambage has career averages of 15.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 167 games (137 starts) with the Tulsa Shock (2011, 2013), Dallas Wings (2018), Aces (2019, 2021) and Sparks.
The Australian star set the WNBA single-game scoring record with 53 points against the New York Liberty in a game in 2018.
I would like to clarify that this tweet isn’t directly related to the reason why Liz Cambage and the Sparks parted ways. It was reported to give an overall account of some of the things the franchise has faced as of late (incl. her departure). There is a thread… https://t.co/jwo52Ce9J4
— Khristina Williams (@Khristina) July 26, 2022
Huge news as Liz Cambage has reportedly left the LA Sparks and to me this would likely mean she is done in the WNBA for good. More details will be coming but I'm sensing it won't be pretty at all. The Sparks have been a mess but this could very well help.
— Walt Waddell (@DubDeuces85) July 26, 2022
Can’t think of an athlete who has burned their way through their sport quite like Liz Cambage has over the past 36 months. https://t.co/ZeDXBmKVCs
— Chase Ruttig (@ChaseRuttig) July 26, 2022
The Los Angeles Sparks have been going through drama since Derek Fisher benched Candace Parker in the 2019 WNBA playoffs. From Parker and Chelsea Gray's departure of the Sparks to the firing of coach Fisher and Liz Cambage leaving the team, it's a mess. #WNBATwitter
— Aya Abdeen (she/her) Free Brittney Griner (@ayabdeen) July 26, 2022
— Katie (@CommunityKeb) July 26, 2022
Wow. Liz Cambage. Sad.
— NBLpocketpodcast (@NBLpocketpod) July 26, 2022
with Yahoo Sports and AAP
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