Well, Liz Cambage wasn't entirely wrong. It has been one of the wildest WNBA summers we've ever seen. And there will be a ring, but it is more likely to be from Cambage's deejaying than from her efforts to win a WNBA championship.
The Los Angeles Sparks agreed to a "contract divorce" with their prized 2022 free agent signing, severing her ties with the team and potentially those with the WNBA. Cambage is a singular talent and in her best seasons — with the Dallas Wings in 2018 and the Las Vegas Aces in '19 — she was dominant in the post.
A great rim protector, solid rebounder and an efficient finisher who earned four All-Star nods in six seasons as well as one first-team and one second-team All-WNBA selection. She still holds the record for most points in a single game with 53.
If this is the end, she'll be remembered for key efforts on and off the court. She was open about mental health at a time when many weren't and she added a level of petty beef that has helped the league break into sports conversations. Most sports talk is about debate. And tons of that sports talk has come accompanied with the gif of Cambage eating popcorn on the sideline of the 2021 All-Star game in Las Vegas. She is that girl.
But her lasting legacy will be the constant controversy, outspokenness that bordered on the line of tactless and, most unfortunately, the ceiling she never consistently reached. Her final game in a Sparks uniform is the final exhibit of that.
Cambage, back in Vegas playing the Aces for a fourth time Saturday, complained to teammates throughout the contest that she wasn't getting enough post touches, sources told Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes. Teammates, reportedly used to such antics, began force-feeding her the ball no matter the play call, sources told Haynes.
Watching it back, it appears to hit the fan late in the third quarter when Cambage called for the ball in the post, despite a double-team, and Chennedy Carter tossed it up to her hands. It resulted in a turnover.
With time running out that same quarter, Brittney Sykes flashed a pass out to her on the block and it hit off her hands for A'ja Wilson to grab off the ground. (The broadcasters gave her an out that it was "a tough pass [to] catch at your knees.")
And Gray did the same when Cambage got the ball on the block later that quarter. Cambage paused, looked around with Wilson on her and Gray came over to take it clean. Cambage fouled and was subbed out for Olivia Nelson-Ododa over the final 1:31. That might be her final WNBA play.
Her 6-foot-8 (some say 6-9) height was always her biggest advantage, but unlike other bigs her size she never appeared to give it 100% all of the time. Cambage could be slow getting back and lazy on boxing out. Her recent issues with conditioning have been because of another bout with COVID-19, but that hasn't always been the case.
It's prescient her final game as a Spark came against the Aces, who opted not to bring her back in free agency and have flourished this season. Wilson moved over to the center position and is not only an MVP candidate, but a Defensive Player of the Year one, too. After their Commissioner's Cup win, Wilson noted she was undersized at the 5 but has found ways to succeed at it.
"At the end of the day, whatever position I'm in, I just make sure that I can be productive in it," Wilson said.
You have to wonder given Cambage's past exits and reported slights if she feels the same way about herself. She has seemed more interested in her other pursuits of modeling and deejaying than being a quality teammate to both her WNBA peers and her Australian ones. And it showed on the floor.
Play of the week
Six blocks. A'ja Wilson, that's just unfair.
— Las Vegas Aces (@LVAces) July 27, 2022
Wilson, Kelsey Plum and Chelsea Gray all had solid cases for Commissioner's Cup MVP. It was the facilitator Gray (19p, 5a, 4r, 1s, 1b) who won the trophy and extra $5,000 on the $30,000 paycheck for winning. But Wilson's stat line — which isn't official because the game does not count in the standings — is one of one.
The leading MVP candidate is the first player to finish a WNBA game with at least 17 points, 17 rebounds, six blocks, two assists and two steals, via Across the Timeline. That was her exact line.
It was a season-best in blocks, eclipsing the five each she had against the Dream and Storm in May. Wilson has had four games of four blocks and leads the league with 59 (her 2.1 bpg trail Ezi Magbegor's 2.2). It's clear why she's not only in the MVP talk, but the Defensive Player of the Year conversation as well.
What you might have missed
"It's terrible." — Recently signed Sun guard Bria Hartley will miss the rest of the season with an ACL tear in her left knee. Hartley, who was waived by the Fever on July 15, tore her right ACL in 2020 as a member of the Mercury.
We see you, commish. Cathy Engelbert had some fun with another All-Star trophy for Plum.
From Just Women's Sports: Plum shares her story of anxiety, depression and heavy suicidal thoughts while at Washington and how her torn Achilles became an unexpected blessing.
Games (and a series) of the weekend
All of these games are going to matter. There are only 12 teams with 36 games each and the race for almost everything is tight. The Sky (21-7), Aces (20-8) and Sun (20-9) have clinched spots.
The first game to keep an eye on will come Friday night for Chicago Sky vs. New York Liberty. The Liberty need to climb back into the top-eight spot and are coming off a critical win against the Sky a week ago. Back in mid-June, the Liberty lost by a bucket when Courtney Vandersloot hit a late three over their slacking defense.
Vandersloot is back after being in concussion protocol and the Sky, who lost the Commissioner's Cup, don't like to lose two in a row. Chicago has its own standings battle to win since its lead over the Las Vegas Aces for the No. 1 seed is only one game heading into Thursday night.
Then there's a back-to-back in the District between the Seattle Storm and Washington Mystics. They are now tied at 18-11 and fighting for the fourth seed in the playoffs. The Mystics lost the first meeting, 85-71.
Elena Delle Donne has not played a back-to-back at all this season. The former MVP has played on one day of rest three times and it's a tough stretch coming up for Washington. They host the Aces on Tuesday and travel to the Sky for a Friday, Aug. 5 contest. But their final week of the season consists of the Sparks and Fever.
WNBA weekend schedule
Friday: Aces at Fever (7 p.m., NBA TV), Liberty at Sky (8 p.m., CBS Sports Network)
Saturday: Storm at Mystics (12 p.m., ESPN), Wings at Dream (7:30 p.m., NBA TV)
Sunday: Sky at Sun (1 p.m., NBA TV), Mercury at Liberty (2 p.m., CBS Sports Network), Aces at Fever (3 p.m. NBA TV), Storm at Mystics (3 pm., Amazon Prime), Lynx at Sparks (7 p.m., NBA TV)