Jordyn Canada loves staying with Sparks

LOS ANGELES — Jordyn Canada said she would like to re-sign with the Sparks if the opportunity presented itself when the WNBA’s free agency period begins Saturday at 9 p.m. PT.

“Of course,” said Canada, who was born and raised in Los Angeles. “This is where I am. It’s always been my dream to play for LA and I got this opportunity last year. God willing, I’ll be able to stay another year with LA but you never know what can happen so I’m letting the opportunity present itself with every What happens in free agency, whether it’s in LA, whether it’s somewhere else. I’m just trying to explore my options but in the end I’m from LA, so I like to stay in LA.”

The 27-year-old former Windward High and UCLA star, Canada, was the fifth overall pick in the 2018 WNBA Draft by the Seattle Storm. She helped the Storm win WNBA championships in 2018 and 2020 and earned a spot on the 2019 WNBA All-Defensive First Team. She signed a one-year deal with the Sparks this past February.

The 5-foot-6 point guard started 25 of the 32 games she played for the Sparks last season. She averaged 9.2 points, 5.5 assists, and 1.4 steals in 27 minutes per game for a Sparks team that posted the second-to-worst record (13-23) in the 12-team league and failed to qualify for the playoffs.

“It was one of those seasons where we had to fight,” Canada said. “We went through a lot of adversity last year, a lot of moving around with the coaches and things like that, and I think we did our best at the end of the day. We fought until the end. We were there. We were only two games out of the playoffs, so honestly, despite what we’ve been through With it, I think we’re still fighting hard. We’re still playing hard. It’s just been one of those seasons where you go through a lot of things. I think we ended up doing our best so that’s all I can say.”

Unlimited possibilities

The 2023 WNBA season doesn’t start until May 19, but offseason transactions are in full swing ahead of February 1, which is the day players can officially sign contracts and offer rosters.

Jonkel Jones, MVP of 2021 has already landed with the New York Liberty in a massive three-team trade. Former first-round draft picks Jasmine Thomas, Alesha Gray and Natasha Howard – also traded, and everyone is waiting to see where 2018 MVP Breanna Stewart, largely seen as the best free agent, ends up.

Canada is an unrestricted free agent, meaning she is free to negotiate a new contract with any WNBA team starting Saturday night.

“I want to go somewhere where I can perform and play and have the opportunity to show my leadership and my growth over the past two years,” she said. “I just want to have fun and compete and play hard. That’s what I’m looking for and to have a relationship with my teammates on and off the field as well and to have a relationship with the coaches, so that’s really the most important thing for me. I’m looking forward to having the chance to show that.”

Canada said the past two years have been really “crazy” when it comes to player movement – via trades or free agencies – across the league.

“I always kind of expect something crazy to happen and we’re really off to a good start with the trades that have been happening so far,” Canada said. “It’s interesting to see the players move and what the teams are going to look like, so I already know this free agency is going to be very interesting. It’s been really interesting so I take it for what it is and that’s pretty much it.”

Canada thinks their newly acquired Jasmine Thomas is a great addition to Sparks.

“I know Kurt (Miller) and Jase (Lee Thomas) have a great relationship with each other. They’ve been with each other (several) years and she’s a huge asset to the team,” Canada added. “She’s a great value. She can play defense. She’s a great leader so I know she’ll add a lot of value to the Sparks. I’m so happy for her and excited to have her in LA, and I know she’s coming out of injury so I’m really excited to have her back, and I’m glad she’s back.” able to get a chance to play in L.A. and also continue playing with Curt.”

Heading into its sixth WNBA season, Canada believes it has the talent and experience to be a full-time starter.

“I think at this point in my career, I feel very confident in myself that I can start and start and be a leader on a team,” she said. “I was playing behind one of the greatest point guards (Sue Bird) and I learned from her for the first four years of my career. Then last year, as I got in and out of the lineup, I think so far in my career, all I’ve learned and experienced is being a starter.” And I’m taken off the bench, I feel very confident that I can participate and I can lead a team and be a starter.”

NBA ACADEMY Women’s Program

Canada said it first realized basketball was a global game in high school. That’s when she really started absorbing the local and international opportunities to play professional basketball, and now she’s returning the favor.

Canada joined fellow WNBA players Ariel Atkins and Danielle Robinson earlier this week to mentor and develop teenage girls at the 2023 NBA Academy Women’s Camp Latin America in Mexico, which brought together some of the top high school-age prospects from countries across Latin America, the Sea Region Caribbean and Canada.

“I’m happy to see the growth (in the young players),” Canada explained during a virtual interview from Mexico. “Their smiles, always willing to learn and (they) take what we say and really apply it to scuffles and training, so what we’re doing here is really special.

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