Save for the Dallas Wings naming Vickie Johnson as their new coach, and the New York Liberty winning the 2021 Draft Lottery, it's been a relatively quiet offseason so far in the WNBA. On Tuesday, however, things picked up a bit with some surprising news.
The Los Angeles Sparks announced that in addition to having his coaching contract extended, Derek Fisher will also take over as the team's general manager.
"I'm honored to be named General Manager of the LA Sparks and continue my role as Head Coach," Fisher said in a statement. "This organization has a dynamic history, the most passionate fans in the WNBA, and an ownership group committed to success on and off the court. I'm thankful for the opportunity and excited to guide this team as we pursue a fourth WNBA title."
Fisher was named coach of the Sparks ahead of the 2019 season, and has guided the team to a 37-19 record in his first two seasons in charge. But while Los Angeles has had plenty of regular season success under Fisher, the playoffs have been another story. They were swept by the Connecticut Sun in the semifinals in embarrassing fashion in 2019 and lost again to the Sun in the single-elimination second round last season.
There's also been tension between Fisher and some of the Sparks' star players, including Nneka Ogwumike and Candace Parker. They bristled at his tactics during his first year in charge, according to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne, and Parker was infamously benched during that 2019 playoff run.
Things seemed to go smoother last season in the bubble, but Fisher has a big challenge ahead of him as he takes on even more responsibility with the franchise. Parker, Ogwumike, Chelsea Gray, Riquna Williams and Seimone Augustus are all unrestricted free agents, and Fisher will have to convince them to return, or remake the squad in their absence -- neither of which will be an easy task.