The Los Angeles Sparks announced late last week that Chiney Ogwumike and Kristi Toliver will opt out of the 2020 WNBA seasons.
Ogwumike joined the Sparks prior to the start of the 2019 season and Toliver joined this past offseason in a three year deal during Free Agency. Both cited health concerns and risk playing a role in their choice to opt out.
“Though I want very much to compete with my team, to be a leader and show up for them, I am not comfortable with the risk to my physical health, short-term and long-term given the many unknowns of COVID-19 and the risk of injury,” Toliver said. “For me, the right decision under the circumstances is to opt out for the year.”
OFFICIAL: Kristi Toliver to opt out of 2020 season.
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“If you know me, you know that I have overcome some of the biggest challenges an athlete can face on the court, said Ogwumike. “My previous injuries have given me strength and built character, but unfortunately they require me to be careful with my preparation leading up to the season. This year is unprecedented in many ways, therefor my team and I have come to the decision to be proactively cautious and put my body first.”
The Sparks moved quickly signing three-year vet Reshanda Gray and rookie Te’a Cooper over the weekend. Cooper was originally drafted by the Phoenix Mercury as the No. 18 pick in the draft but was later waived. The Los Angeles roster currently sits at 12 and it is expected to be set for the 2020 season.
The 22-game WNBA season is set to tip-off at the end of July at IMG Academy in Florida.