Liz Cambage (sort of) explains herself

From Australia, her decision not to return to the Shock was last-minute:

”Monday morning came and I just couldn’t do it, I couldn’t go,” she said. ”It was last-minute and I’m sorry for that. To be honest, it was unfair on the team and the rest of the girls [the Shock] to come over when I wasn’t 100 per cent.”

Speaking from her family home in Mount Eliza, Cambage said the past few days had been tough as she came to grips with the need for a break.

”I’m not sure what it was,” she said. ”I was very emotional.

She also made a flip statement:

”People have been saying I want a trade. I don’t want a trade,” she said. ”I don’t know what I will do after China but I know the Shock will always be there; it’s just sad I’m too tired to finish the season there.”

ESPN got more in-depth with Cambage, who admitted it’s about the money:

“I can make the same amount here in Australia if I wanted to,” said Cambage, whose WNBA rookie salary in 2011 was about $46,756. “Some girls are making crazy amounts over in Europe. So it’s hard. I think it’s easier for Americans, because it’s home for them, and the WNBA is their league. Coming over for me for three weeks when I’m in this situation is more of a tough gig.”

She also rationalizes her absence:

“But I feel that it’s wrong for me to go take someone’s spot now when they’re playing well. Because mentally, I’m not 100 percent. I felt like it wasn’t fair to the Shock family for me to go back and not give 100 percent.”

What she’ll do next is uncertain:

Cambage is aware that, reputation and legacy-wise, proving yourself in the WNBA long-term is critical for everyone. She knows that’s a big part of why — in spite of it not always being the most comfortable or even salary-maximizing thing for them — fellow Aussies Lauren Jackson and Penny Taylor have played so many seasons in the WNBA.

“That’s the hardest thing about being an athlete: You travel the world and you have to go where the money is,” Cambage said. “You do have to make sacrifices, but that’s why Lauren and Penny are the best. Because they’ve made sacrifices to be the best.”

Will Cambage do the same thing? She doesn’t seem quite ready to say that now. That will frustrate some observers who are tantalized by her talent. Jackson has said she feels sure Cambage is on the road to greatness. But right now, Cambage is really only looking at her next stop.