F Nneka Ogwumike leaving Sparks in free agency

Forward Nneka Ogwumike, who was named the WNBA MVP in 2016, will not be returning to the Los Angeles Sparks next season as she explores other options in free agency.

Ogwumike spent the first 12 seasons of her career in Los Angeles.

“I have SO much. So much love for the city that unconditionally embraced this Stanford kid 12 years ago,” Ogwumike said in a statement posted to X, formerly known as Twitter. “So much pride in being only a small piece of the legacy that is Championship City. So much pain and sweat with teammates, coaches, staff, and ownership that gave life to what it really means to be SHOWTIME.

“So much gratitude for the fans and the people of LA that raised me. So much joy for what it means to be #30 in purple & gold. I have SO much because of the Los Angeles Sparks, and even more for my heart to hold on in this season of change.

“LA, I hope it’s not goodbye, but ‘see you later.'”

Ogwumike, 33, is an eight-time WNBA All-Star and won a title with the Sparks in 2016.

Last season, Ogwumike averaged 19.1 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 36 games (all starts).

In 356 career games (355 starts) with Los Angeles, Ogwumike posted averages of 16.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.5 steals.

The Sparks went 17-23 last season, missing the playoffs for the third straight year.