March 23, 2023

Sparks waive former top-five pick after one season

After just one season, the Los Angeles Sparks cut a former No. 4 overall draft pick in guard Chennedy Carter.

“We thank Chennedy for her contributions to the Sparks and wish her the best moving forward,” Sparks general manager Karen Bryant said in a statement.

A former scoring superstar for Texas A&M, Chennedy Carter was on the WNBA’s All-Rookie team in 2020 after being selected by the Atlanta Dream. 

She was suspended midway through the 2021 season because of “conduct detrimental to the team.” She did not return for the remainder of the year, according to ESPN women’s basketball reporter Alexa Philippou. 

The 24-year-old guard saw a steady decline in her production since first being drafted in the 2020 WNBA draft. She played in 16.4 minutes per game for the Sparks in 2022 after playing in about 25.5 the two seasons before. 

Carter played in 24 games and started in two last season, averaging 8.9 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game.

In a veteran-heavy Sparks roster that has yet to make the playoffs in two years, having a young talent like Chennedy is crucial if the team wants to prepare for a time without the Ogwumike sisters. 

The Sparks have not seen a winning season since the departure of forward Candace Parker in 2021. They went 25-43 in the last two seasons, playing through an interim head coach in now-Auburn associate head coach Fred Williams following the departure of Derek Fisher.

The Sparks have a 22-year-old guard in Rae Burrell, who played 26.5 minutes per game last season, but it will take more than her to truly prepare for a transition from the current era of Sparks basketball. 

Los Angeles does not have a first-round pick in 2023, but owns a first-rounder from the Las Vegas Aces in 2024 in the trade for forward Dearica Hamby.

Only time will tell if Los Angeles will continue to hold over with new veteran signings in forward Azurá Stevens and guard Jasmine Thomas.

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