Sparks waive guard Chennedy Carter after just one season

2020 No. 4 overall WNBA draft pick Chennedy Carter has been waived by the Los Angeles Sparks, the team announced Friday.

"We thank Chennedy for her contributions to the Sparks and wish her the best moving forward," Sparks general manager Karen Bryant said in a statement.

Carter, a former Texas A&M standout, played two seasons with the Atlanta Dream before she was traded to the Sparks ahead of the 2022 campaign -- a deal that sent L.A.'s 2023 first-round draft pick to Atlanta.

Former Sparks general manager and head coach Derek Fisher exercised the fourth-year rookie scale option for Carter two games into the 2022 season. Because of that, the Sparks will essentially have to eat her $86,701 protected salary if she goes unclaimed through waivers.

While Carter's talent is undeniable, her WNBA path has been rocky. Carter had a standout rookie season in 2020, averaging 17.4 points, 3.4 assists and 2.3 rebounds, although she was limited to just 16 games because of an ankle injury. In 2021, she was suspended midway through the season because of "conduct detrimental to the team" and did not return the remainder of the year.

Carter played in 24 total games for the Sparks in 2022, averaging 8.9 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 16.4 minutes -- one of the lowest marks on the team. She also dealt with a knee injury and non-COVID illness that summer, and was held out of four contests in early August (coach's decision), after which then-interim head coach Fred Williams decided to play her in the Sparks' final two games.

The Sparks, with a new head coach in Curt Miller and GM in Bryant, have a veteran-heavy roster for 2023 featuring Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike, Azur√° Stevens and Jasmine Thomas. They are hoping to return to the playoffs after a two-year absence.