Sparks to hire two-time Coach of the Year Kurt Miller from a WNBA finalist

The Los Angeles Sparks They struck a multi-year deal with twice coach of the year Kurt Miller to be their next coach, sources reported to Yahoo Sports on Friday.

Miller led the Connecticut Sun to the 2022 WNBA Finals, where they lost in four games to the Las Vegas Aces. As general manager and head coach, Miller has shaped the Sun into title contenders over the past few seasons. But they haven’t yet broken through to the franchise’s first championship.

The Sparks are going through a rebuilding phase after 2016 champions Candice Parker and Chelsea Gray left free agency over the past few seasons. They each won the WNBA titles elsewhere as Sparks struggled. They fire former NBA star Derek Fisher during the regular season and enter a free agency period in which zero contracts are signed.

The deal opens an internship position in Connecticut. Dallas and . suites Indiana fever Both are subject to training searches.

Miller Sun’s success falls short of the ultimate banner

Kurt Miller

Connecticut Sun coach Kurt Miller turned the franchise on to the title contenders, but he never won a championship. (AP Photo/John Locher)

the sun is The biggest franchise since 2017, But she did not reach the tournament despite appearing twice in the finals and two losses in the semi-finals.

Miller, the league’s first openly gay head coach, signed a four-year contract extension in January 2021 that runs through the 2024 season. He noted during the WNBA Finals that he was the Sun’s longest-serving employee. In seven seasons, he went 140-86 (.619) and was 16-17 in the playoffs.

Miller was hired by Sun as coach and general manager heading into the 2016 season, a pivotal time when Connecticut State drafted Jonquil Jones with the No. 6 overall pick. She won the MVP award in 2021. They replaced mid-season goalkeeper Courtney Williams, who was No. 8 that year. After the next minutes of the 2019 WNBA title against Sophia WashingtonMiller brokered a deal for champion DeWanna Bonner in February 2020.

Injuries and a lack of participation have affected seasons, including this year when base protector Jasmine Thomas tore her ACL in May. The top five didn’t all play together for the majority of the season, but they still had deep playoffs.

The Sun will now look to appoint a new Head Coach and General Manager Before the salary cap crisis in the free agency. Four of the five regular players have big contracts and will likely lose Sixth Year Player Breonna Jones because of it. Jones is a two-time All-Star and has earned $120,000 (maximum salary around $202K).

Sparks ready to take steps in free agency

The Sparks had a few years of chaos and Miller would be tasked with bringing them back from the bottom half of the league. He will have a pretty clean record with The second largest match room ($996,101) in the league.

There is no freshman contracted to 2016 MVP and champion Nneka Ogwumike is the main free agent in the group. She has spent her entire career in Los Angeles and it seems unlikely that she will ever leave, perhaps even less so now with Miller in town. Two-time champion points guard Kristi Tolliver, two-time champion guard Jordan Canada and all-defensive star Britney Sykes are all free agents as are former Sun star Cheney Ogomyek.

Los Angeles was without a general manager and head coach when they Parted ways with Fisher a month into the season. Sparks hired him as head coach in 2018 after only considering the five-time Los Angeles Lakers winning the job. He was 54-46 over three years at the helm and 1-4 in the two playoffs. In the most memorable moment during Fisher’s tenure, he challenged WNBA champ and Major League star Parker in the 2019 Elimination Match.

In another set of individual moves off last season, Fisher brought in quarterback Liz Campage and goalkeeper Chenedy Carter. Cambridge She left the franchise abruptly in July after attacking her teammates. Carter, who is still a signatory, was rarely used and played a handful of matches where she did not play due to the coach’s decision.

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