A day after bolstering the frontcourt with the acquisition of former All Star and three time champion Natasha Howard from the Seattle Storm, the New York Liberty took a bit of a hit. Starting center Amanda Zahui B departed the team and decided to sign with the Los Angeles Sparks. In LA, AZB will look to help replace the loss of future basketball Hall of Famer Candace Parker, who left the team to sign with the Chicago Sky in free agency. From LA’s General Manager and Head Coach, Derek Fisher:
“Amanda Zahui B. brings rebounding, size and can space the floor from the center position. She’s a great teammate and person who brings the type of toughness and work ethic we want in our locker room. We’re really excited about her fit.”
For the Liberty, the loss of AZB will hurt in a few ways. On the court, Zahui B fully embraced her role as a stretch 5 and helped new coach Walt Hopkins open up the Liberty offense. Zahui B took a career high high 4.8 3-pointers a game and shot a more than respectable 34 percent from downtown. She also did a great job initiating the offense from the high post as she expanded her game to suit the new offense. Zahui B also finished eighth in rebounding and seventh in blocks as she anchored a young Liberty roster that was besieged by injuries.
The Liberty is also losing a veteran presence in the locker room and strong community advocate. Prior to the start of the wubble 2020 season, AZB spoke about the work she was doing in Sweden and beyond:
“We don’t talk about race here. Minneapolis, I wanted to march the streets with everyone. I wanted to do whatever I can do for that community. But at the same time, we have so much work to do in Sweden. You have to start at home.”
For the Liberty, Kiah Stokes will take over at center and the team awaits the return of Han Xu, who opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns.