The Los Angeles Sparks have parted ways with head coach and general manager Derek Fisher, the team announced on Tuesday. Fisher, who was hired prior to the 2019 season as head coach, and later assumed the GM role in 2020, went 54-46 with two playoff appearances in his three-plus seasons with the club.
“I want to thank the LA Sparks organization, ownership, staff, players, and fans for the opportunity they have afforded me over the last four years as a part of this historic franchise,” Fisher said. “Their support has allowed me to grow as both a coach and front office executive and I am proud of what we have accomplished.
“The Sparks and I have mutually agreed to part ways as I shift my focus back to pursuing other opportunities and private endeavors. It has been an amazing ride and I wish the entire LA sparks organization great success moving forward.”
Fred Williams, who has an extensive coaching history, including 10 seasons as a head coach with three different franchises, will serve as interim head coach for the remainder of the season. It’s worth noting that Williams, who has always been a players’ coach, has a good relationship with Liz Cambage, and this move comes a few days after Cambage played just 13 minutes in a loss to the Mercury.
Williams was a key factor in convincing Cambage to return to the WNBA in 2018, and the two connect well due to their shared love of music. (Williams is a jazz musician and producer in his spare time.)
“He would email me, check in on me, and just send me a lot of his music and mixes,” Cambage said in an interview with The Athletic in 2019. “I thought that was really cool. I wasn’t expecting that, but he’s really good. That’s a way we really connected that, you know, music is something that is a bit of a release for us. It helps us take our minds off basketball.”
After missing the playoffs for the first time in a decade last season, the Sparks made a number of high-profile moves this winter. In addition to signing Cambage and Jordin Canada in free agency, the team traded for former lottery picks Chennedy Carter and Katie Lou Samuelson.
While those additions have helped fix the team’s offense, they have had a major negative effect on the other side of the ball. The Sparks are last in the league in defensive rating, allowing 107.2 points per 100 possessions. With opponents able to score at will, the Sparks have struggled to find any consistency, and are stuck in eighth place at 5-7.
That would earn them a playoff spot if the season ended today, but it wasn’t good enough to save Fisher’s job.
Courtesy; CBS Sports