Sparks waive former lottery pick Chennedy Carter after tumultuous 3 years in league

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 31: Chennedy Carter #7 of the Los Angeles Sparks in the first quarter at Arena on July 31, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Chennedy Carter is on the market for her third team after being waived by the Los Angeles Sparks. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Sparks waived guard Chennedy Carter after one season with the team, they announced Friday.

“We thank Chennedy for her contributions to the Sparks and wish her the best moving forward,” Sparks chief administrative officer and general manager Karen Bryant said in a statement Friday.

The 24-year-old played in 24 games for the Sparks in the 2022 season. She averaged 8.9 points, 1.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 16.4 minutes per game, one of the least-utilized players on the Sparks' roster.

Former Sparks head coach and general manager Derek Fisher exercised the fourth-year rookie scale option for Carter early in the 2022 season. Under the league's current CBA, fourth-year team options are guaranteed when exercised by a team, which will require the Sparks to pay her $86,701 protected salary if she goes unclaimed through waivers.

Carter is objectively talented. She's currently showcasing her skills in a strong overseas season for Bursa in Turkey, where she is averaging 21.9 points on 63.6% shooting and 5.7 assists per game.

The news of her release comes as the latest development in a tumultuous professional career. A three-time All-American for Texas A&M, Carter was drafted to the Atlanta Dream with the fourth overall pick of the 2020 WNBA Draft. In her rookie season, Carter averaged 17.4 points, 3.4 assists and 2.3 rebounds per game. Her breakout season was limited to just 16 games due to an ankle injury.

In 2021, she was suspended midway through the season due to "conduct detrimental to the team" and did not return the remainder of the year.

The Dream provided no additional details on what led to the suspension of a player who'd just finished second in Rookie of the Year voting for the prior season. Some reports painted a vague, but still unclear picture of what might have led to the suspension.

In February 2022, the Sparks traded for Carter. During the season of low utilization, she also dealt with a knee injury and non-COVID illness.

Under a new general manager and head coach in Curt Miller, the Sparks are hoping to make their first playoff appearance since 2020 with veterans Nneka Ogwumike, Chiney Ogwumike, Jasmine Thomas and Azurá Stevens. The team also acquired former Las Vegas Aces forward Dearica Hamby before the trade deadline.