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Los Angeles Sparks’ appoints Karen Bryant as general manager

The Los Angeles Sparks announced on Tuesday that Karen Bryant, a former longtime executive for the Seattle Storm of the WNBA, has been appointed chief administrative officer and general manager.

Bryant spent 15 years with the Storm, which won the championship in 2004 and 2010. She left in 2014 to establish a women’s sports-focused advisory firm. In 2021, she was hired by the Sparks as a strategic adviser and became the team’s interim president.

Bryant helped hire Curt Miller, the Sparks’ current coach, and Vanessa Shay, the team’s president. Since Derek Fisher, the Sparks’ previous coach and general manager, was fired in June, during the WNBA season in 2022, the team has not had a general manager. After Miller left the Connecticut Sun in October to become the Sparks’ coach, Fred Williams took over as interim coach for the remainder of the season.

“I’m really excited to partner with Curt, Vanessa and the rest of our team to usher in a new era of Sparks basketball,” Bryant said in a statement. “We are committed to building a culture and organization that is representative of the incredible legacy this franchise carries. I want to thank (managing partner) Eric Holoman and our ownership group for this opportunity and their continued investment in the Sparks and the WNBA.”

The Sparks, who have won the WNBA three times, have missed the playoffs the past two seasons. They haven’t missed the playoffs in consecutive years since the WNBA’s first two seasons in 1997 and 1998.

The WNBA’s free agency process begins this month, with players able to officially sign on February 1. Bryant’s hiring comes at this time. Six unrestricted free agents have signed with the Sparks, including sisters Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike.

Since the end of the 2022 season, the WNBA has made a number of administrative and coaching changes, one of which is Bryant’s new position.

Mike Thibault, the Washington Mystics’ coach and general manager, has retired from coaching and will concentrate on the GM position as Eric Thibault, his former assistant, takes over as head coach. Clare Duwelius was elevated from Lynx assistant GM to general manager, and Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve was promoted from general manager to president of basketball operations. Reeve is still in charge of the team.

Connecticut hired coach Stephanie White and general manager Darius Taylor to take Miller’s spot as coach and general manager when he left for the Sparks.

New head coaches were hired by two other WNBA teams: Christie Sides and Latricia Trammel play for the Indiana Fever and Dallas Wings, respectively.

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