As one team dismantles its championship roster, the Sparks hope to rebuild theirs as the team announced the signing of free agent Azurá Stevens on Friday.
Stevens, a 6-foot-6 forward who helped the Chicago Sky to their first WNBA championship in 2021, joined former teammates Candace Parker and Courtney Vandersloot in a Windy City free-agent exodus. Parker, the former Sparks star, chose the Las Vegas Aces while Vandersloot joined former Seattle Storm star Breanna Stewart with the New York Liberty.
At 27, Stevens is “just entering the prime of her career,” Sparks general manager Karen Bryant said in a statement released by the team. She averaged 10.6 points per game last year while starting eight games for the Sky. The former sixth overall draft pick in 2018 had 3.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game in 21.9 minutes last season.
“Azurá was our No. 1 free-agent target,” Bryant said.
Stevens is the fourth new player signed to the Sparks in what’s expected to be a busy offseason for a franchise hoping to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2020. The Sparks already added forward Dearica Hamby and guard Jasmine Thomas through trades and signed free-agent guard Stephanie Talbot. They also re-signed sharp-shooting guard Lexie Brown.
The addition of Stevens helps the Sparks bolster their frontcourt depth behind Nneka Ogwumike, who is expected to re-sign as an unrestricted free agent.
“Z is a rising star in our league and a tremendous teammate,” head coach Curt Miller said in the statement. “At 6-foot-6, she has outstanding versatility to play effectively on the inside and on the perimeter.”