The Los Angeles Sparks have had a reasonably turbulent offseason – for them. However, it would be wise to look past the noise this has generated in the media and see it for what it might be.
The Los Angeles Sparks have had two changes at the top this off-season. First their championship winning coach Brian Agler resigned to be replaced by Derek Fisher. More recently Sparks president and COO Christine Simmons has stepped down to accept the position as COO of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.
Some pundits are wondering if the Sparks have internal issues. Why would two prominent, successful people leave in such a short time. The answer is in the last sentence, they are prominent and successful.
We all know what Agler has achieved, his coaching resume speaks for itself. However, Simmons achievements whilst at the Sparks speaks volumes. 60% growth in ticket sales, doubled ratings for games and implemented some incredible community programs. Why would other organisations not want to poach this talent.
The fact that Agler accepted the head coaching position at the Dallas Wings tells me he left the Sparks for this job. He possibly feels he has achieved what he wanted in Hollywood and loves the challenge of the new job. He has retained Erin Phillips as an assistant meaning he hopes to lure superstar Liz Cambage back.
Added to this, the press release was a short, terse announcement from the club, not one which you would normally associate with a championship winning coach. But the point here is simple, Agler got offered another job within the industry and loves a challenge with a team on the rise, why would he not take it?
Simmons is also a highly skilled executive who did amazing work for the franchise. There would be a heap of organisations, particularly in the motion picture industry who want to improve their numbers and therefore their profits.
The work Simmons has done at the front end of the franchise is spectacular and as a result job offers would have come her way often. This one was obviously too hard to refuse and the Sparks have lost another leader of the club within a month and a half of Agler going.
This does not say that the culture of the club is bad or there are problems within the Sparks, it actually tells me the opposite. It tells me that the Sparks are an incredible franchise who have had great people build their success. As is the norm with successful people they look for other challenges. Things are well in Los Angeles.
If anything, if i was a Sparks fan, I would be more worried how the team are going to sign Alana Beard, Essence Carson, Chelsea Gray, Odyssey Sims, Karlie Samuelson and Riquna Williams, all of whom are free agents this year.