L.A. Sparks Team Up for Grabs. Franchise Owner Calls It Quits

Candace Parker, Rebekkah Brunson

*Well, there’s bad news and good news. Which do you want first?

The bad news is that the owner of the L.A. Sparks is no longer interested in holding on to the franchise.

According to The L. A. Times, Paula Madison, the Chairman and majority holder of the all-women’s team owned by Williams Group Holdings, told the league her family-owned company would no longer be involved with them.

A move that took some folks by surprise, including WNBA President Laurel Richie.

“This was a big surprise to us,” said Richie on Thursday. “Right before the holidays, I got a call from Paula letting me know that she and her family were no longer in a position to continue with the Sparks.”

Paula Madison
Paula Madison

Sadly, the teams’ front office staff, GM Penny Toler and President, Vincent Malcolm, was laid off via email – as was the teams coach, Carol Ross and her staff.

The Times obtained a copy of an email that was sent to employees by Malcolm on New Years Eve: “… we regret to inform you that effective December 31, 2013 you no longer will be employed by the Los Angeles Sparks.”

While one report had said they did not know if the player’s were getting paid, a more recent article notes that they are.

Now for the good news.

All may not be lost. There has already been some interest shown in acquiring the team. According to ESPN, the NBA’s Golden State Warriors has expressed interest; though they are only in the discussion stages, as confirmed by Warriors spokesman Raymond Ridder, who provided the statement below.

Our ownership group has maintained their interest in operating a WNBA team in the Bay Area since acquiring the Warriors three years ago. We’ve had exploratory conversations relating to this topic with the WNBA on several occasions since 2010, including most recently regarding the Los Angeles franchise. At this point, our dialogue remains in the exploratory stage as we evaluate the complexities of any such acquisition now or in the future.

Only thing is, if The Warriors do buy the Sparks, the team, which was founded in 1997, will most likely relocate to the Bay Area.

Read more here.


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