Forward/center Azura Stevens will sign with the Los Angeles Sparks, her agent, Mike Cound, told ESPN on Thursday, becoming the Chicago Sky’s fourth major player to move on from the organization in free agency.
Stevens, who was drafted by Dallas out of UConn in 2018, is regarded as one of the most promising young post players in the league. Playing in a stacked frontcourt in Chicago, she averaged 10.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 21.9 minutes in 2022. She also played an integral role in the Sky’s 2021 championship run.
Earlier this week, two-time WNBA MVP Candace Parker announced she would be signing with the Aces, four-time All-Star Courtney Vandersloot posted she wouldn’t be returning to Chicago and sharpshooter Allie Quigley is set to sit out the 2022 season.
Chicago was upset at home in Game 5 of the semifinals in 2022, precluding its bid to repeat as champions. Kahleah Copper, the 2021 Finals MVP, is the only returning starter currently under contract for the Sky. Copper, Ruthy Hebard and Dana Evans are the only players remaining from Chicago’s 2021 championship team.
Stevens joins a Sparks franchise in rebuilding mode after missing the postseason the past two years. The Sparks brought in former Connecticut Sun coach Curt Miller as well as general manager Karen Bryant after a tumultuous past few seasons that included the firing of former coach Derek Fisher and the sudden departure of center Liz Cambage last summer.
Los Angeles’ roster also is filled with new additions Dearica Hamby (acquired in a trade from Las Vegas), Jasmine Thomas (acquired in a trade from Connecticut) and free agent Stephanie Talbot (who most recently played in Seattle). Lexie Brown re-signed as a free agent after spending 2022 with the Sparks.
The Sparks are also expected to re-sign Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike, sources told ESPN’s Holly Rowe on Wednesday.