Will the Sparks be able to hold on to Nia Coffey (left)? | Photo by Tim Heitman/NBAE via Getty Images
After a disappointing 2021 season, Derek Fisher will be trying to get the Sparks back in contention. What changes will he have to make to the roster for that to happen?
The Sparks ended last season 12-20, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2011. The disappointing season and previous star Candace Parker leaving the team and winning a championship in her first year as a member of the Sky added salt to the wounds of Sparks fans. LA isn’t used to losing seasons or having stars leave. If Derek Fisher doesn’t have a better 2022, he might not be in charge of the Sparks in 2023. So, what does he have to do to right the ship?
By the Numbers *
Free agents (type) (2021 average salary) (qualifying offer)
Nia Coffey (unrestricted) ($70,040)
Te’a Copper (reserved) ($58,710)
Marianna Tolo (reserved)
Total average salary of free agents: $128,750
Total team salary: $1,282,254
Cap Space: $96,946
Photo by Tim Heitman/NBAE via Getty Images
Nia Coffey (left) and Te’a Cooper.
If the Sparks keep everyone currently on the roster, they can only add one more player despite having two roster spots open. Fisher hasn’t made any declarative statements on this season’s free agency, but I think it’s safe to assume some players will be moved. The Sparks have a lot of talented players, but are also far away from championship contention at this time. It is likely a mini-rebuild is in order. Fisher will probably try to keep the players he finds most valuable, trade away some talented players, and either gain assets for future drafts or go after a star player in free agency. So don’t be surprised if the opening day roster looks drastically different than it does now.
This is LA. The pressure to win and compete is always present. This is one of the most storied franchises with a dedicated fanbase always demanding more from the team and the organization. Regardless of the moves that are done in free agency, a 12-20 record will not be acceptable in 2022. Derek Fisher needs to make sure he builds a team ready to compete this season, or it’s going to be a cold summer in Los Angeles.
* All salary numbers come from Her Hoop Stats