Ex-WNBA MVP Nneka Ogwumike signs with Seattle Storm

ByRamona Shelburne ESPN logo
Monday, February 5, 2024

Former WNBA MVP Nneka Ogwumikesigned with the Seattle Storm, it was announced Monday.

The deal is for one year, sources told ESPN.

The formerLos Angeles Sparksstar, who averaged 19.1 points and 8.8 rebounds last season, chose the Storm after a whirlwind free agency tour in which she also met with the Phoenix Mercury, Chicago Sky, Atlanta Dream and New York Liberty.

Ogwumike's public appearances in New York over the past week stoked speculation that she would join the superstar-laden Liberty, who went to the WNBA Finals last season.

"I had the pleasure of having options and the opportunity to see different teams," Ogwumike told ESPN's "NBA Today." "... Ultimately I felt like I just fit best in an organization that has so much history. We're living in a house that was built by legends and continues to be built and coached by legends. It just really resonated with me to be able to build on that legacy with some other key pieces."

Ogwumike did give strong consideration to New York, sources close to the 2016 WNBA MVP told ESPN, but she ultimately decided on the Storm because they presented her with a clear role and an opportunity to contend for a title alongside free agent acquisition Skylar Diggins-Smith and current Storm star guard Jewell Loyd.

Although Ogwumike and Diggins-Smith conducted their free agencies independently, there has always been a respect between them. Last season, Ogwumike supported the idea of the Sparks pursuing a trade for Diggins-Smith, sources told ESPN.

"I really want to step into this with everyone's expectations to be great," Ogwumike said. "You can't be great without other great players. We all know how much weight we can hold."

Ogwumike, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft, was an eight-time WNBA All-Star in her 12 seasons with Los Angeles. She announced last month she would not be returning to the Sparks and ended up signing with one of their Western Conference rivals.

She also is president of the WNBA players association.

"The chance to coach Nneka, a veteran in our league with championship experience, is such an incredible opportunity for our team," Seattle coach Noelle Quinn said. "Nneka is an efficient scorer, a strong rebounder, an elite defender and is one of the most versatile players in the W. We know she will immediately elevate our play this season."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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