2022 Free Agency Primer 

Sparks Add Gabby Williams, Return 2021 No. 7 Pick Jasmine Walker

To prepare for 2022 free agency, please follow the recently launched official PR Twitter account of the LA Sparks, @LASparksPR. 

The 2022 WNBA Free agency period is officially upon us. This Saturday, Jan. 15, teams will be able to formally meet with players and agents to discuss contracts. Then, on Feb. 1, teams will be able to announce signings, trades, and transactions. 

In addition, the period for qualifying and core offers began Jan. 1, as the Sparks announced the re-signing of Lauren Cox on Jan. 4 to a qualifying offer. The Sparks have also extended a qualifying offer to Te’a Cooper.

The Sparks are excited to add Gabby Williams to the 2022 roster. The Sparks acquired Williams in a trade with the Chicago Sky on May 9, 2021. She did not play last season due to French national team commitments, but the Sparks signed her to an extension through the 2022 season. 

The Sparks will also welcome back the 2021 No. 7 overall pick Jasmine Walker, who missed almost her entire rookie season with a torn ACL. Walker projects to be an elite outside shooter who can play power forward defensively. Against the Aces in preseason last year, she scored 23 points while draining seven 3-pointers. Walker’s recovery is progressing well for a 2022 return, although an official return date is still to be determined. 

Sparks 2022 Free Agency

Below is a list of the types of free agents in the WNBA Collective Bargaining Agreement, and who from the Sparks applies to each category:

Unrestricted Free Agents- The following players can negotiate a contract with any of the 12 WNBA teams and sign any time after Feb. 1, 2021:

  1. Nia Coffey

Core Player: A core offer is a one-year, maximum offer to a veteran player enabling a WNBA team to retain exclusive negotiating rights with that player. The Sparks designated the 2016 MVP Nneka Ogwumike as their core player on Jan. 14, 2021 and she re-signed on a two-year deal. WNBA teams can only have one player under the core designation at a time, so they cannot core anyone during 2022 free agency. 

Restricted Free Agents: Players with four years of service are considered Restricted Free Agents. Restricted free agency gives the player’s prior team the right to keep the player by either signing a new contract or matching a contract offer the player signs with another team (Right of First Refusal). If the player signs a contract offer with another team, the player’s prior team has four days from the date it receives the offer to determine whether it wishes to match. If the offer is matched, the player will remain with her team. If the offer is not matched within the four-day period, the player will be under contract with the offering team. 

The Sparks do not have any restricted free agents in 2022.

Suspended/Contract Expired: Teams maintain exclusive negotiating rights with players who did not play the previous WNBA season but who’s contract expired.

  1. Maria Vadeeva

Reserved Players – Free agent players with three or fewer years of service are considered Reserved Players. The player’s prior team has exclusive negotiating rights. 

  1. Te’a Cooper
  2. Lauren Cox- re-signed on January 4 

Players Under Contract- The following players are not 2022 free agents and remain on the LA Sparks current roster:

  1. Kristi Toliver
  2. Nneka Ogwumike
  3. Amanda Zahui B.
  4. Erica Wheeler
  5. Chiney Ogwumike
  6. Gabby Williams
  7. Brittney Sykes
  8. Jasmine Walker
  9. Arella Guirantes

Overseas Players- The Sparks maintain the rights to the following international players:

  1. Maria Vadeeva
  2. Ivana Raca
  3. Julia Reisingerova
  4. Alina Iagupova