Jordin Canada’s four-year tenure in Seattle is over, as the Storm’s heir apparent point guard who was supposed to take over for Sue Bird returns home to Southern California and joins the Los Angeles Sparks.
“Thank you to my teammates, coaches, staff and fans for an amazing 4 years,” Canada tweeted. “I am forever grateful for this organization for taking a chance on me and making my dream turn into a reality. Always love on this side.”
Canada, who was taken No. 5 overall by Seattle in the 2018 WNBA draft, helped the Storm to two league championships (2018 and 2020) while averaging 7.2 points, 4.1 assists, 2.1 rebounds and 1.3 steals as a backup.
When Bird sat out the 2019 season due to a knee injury, Canada started 29 games and led the league with a career-high steals 2.3 per game while making the WNBA All-Defensive first team.
During her breakout year, the 5-foot-6 point guard averaged career highs in points (9.8), rebounds (2.4) and minutes (28.5) while also tallying 5.2 assists per game.
However, the past two seasons have seen a steady decline in production.
During the COVID-shortened season in 2020, Canada averaged 7.9 points, 5.5 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals while starting 11 of 20 games.
Heading into last season, there was a considerable amount of external pressure on Canada, considering it was her contract year and she was in line for a big payday.
But she continued to regress and averaged 5.8 points, 3.0 assists, 2.3 rebounds, 0.7 steals and just 18.4 minutes while starting 3 of 29 games.
“I don’t know what to expect or what’s going to happen with myself,” Canada said last September just days after the season-ending playoff loss in the second round to the Phoenix Mercury. “So I think it’s just a little bit different, because who knows if we’ll all be together next year or not. And to be also one of those people in the position that could stay, could go, it just hits a little different.
“So it’s not goodbye, but it does hit a little bit different.”
At her best, the electric and ultra-quick guard was an essential component on Seattle’s championship teams.
Canada, a disruptive stalwart on the perimeter, was a fixture on Storm defenses that led the league in points allowed in 2019 and 2020.
Offensively, she was an opportunistic playmaker who pushed the tempo and scored around the basket via a variety of daring drives into the paint for layups and short jumpers.
But Canada’s 17.9% career three-point shooting percentage was a liability on a Storm team that relies heavily on perimeter shooting.
Still, Seattle initially extended Canada, a restricted free agent, a qualifying offer on Jan. 4. The Storm made similar moves with restricted free agents Mercedes Russell and Stephanie Talbot.
Russell received a three-year, $480,000 protected deal while Talbot returned with a one-year deal for $72,141.
After signing free agent Briann January, a 13-year veteran, to serve as backup point guard next season, the Storm rescinded its qualifying offer to Canada last Saturday, which made her an unrestricted free agent.
Three days later, Canada, who earned $70,040 last season, agreed to a one-year, $98,000 guaranteed contract with Los Angeles on Tuesday, according to Rachel Galligan at Winsdr.com.
Seattle currently has 10 players under contract, not including Bird who is expected to return for her 19th season. WNBA teams are allowed 11-12 players on the roster.
Canada joins a Sparks team that finished 12-20 last season and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2011. Los Angeles is undergoing an offseason makeover that includes newcomers Liz Cambage, Chennedy Carter and former Storm forward Katie Lou Samuelson.
“I’m extremely blessed to be back in my city and to play for my hometown,” said Canada, a LA native who starred at UCLA. “It has always been a dream of mine to be part of this championship organization. I can’t wait to get to training camp and get to work with my teammates.”