The Los Angeles Sparks have acquired Chiney Ogwumike from the Connecticut Sun, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports. The forward will team up with her MVP older sister, Nneka Ogwumike, and have a serious shot at a WNBA title.
The youngest Ogwumike averaged 14.4 points and 7.3 rebounds per game for the Suns last season, after struggling with injuries in two of the previous three years.
She’ll move to the west coast, to a city with an ESPN studio. That last part, Sun head coach Curt Miller tells Mike DiMauro of The Day, was a major part of the trade negotiations surrounding the WNBA star that doubles as an analyst for the network.
“If that opportunity weren’t possible,” Miller said, “our understanding is that Chiney would be willing to move to ESPN full time and walk away from her WNBA career. Ultimately, that left us two options: look into trades with L.A. or receive nothing as she departed the league to grow her career at ESPN.“
With that in hand, and a healthy campaign behind her, the 27-year-old forward will bolster a Sparks frontcourt anchored not only by her sister but by All-Star big Candace Parker.
Additionally, the Sparks employ defensive Swiss army knife Alana Beard and are likely to re-sign star point guard Chelsea Gray. Joining them is former Baylor star Kalani Brown, who was drafted with the No. 7 pick in April.
In return for Ogwumike, the Sun will add a first-round pick in 2020. A resource that will come in handy as the franchise braces to face seven pending free agents next offseason.