WNBA free agent Candace Parker signs with the Las Vegas Aces

WNBA free agent Candace Parker signs with the Las Vegas Aces

Two-time WNBA Champion and MVP Candace Parker Plan to sign with Las Vegas Aces As an unrestricted free agent, she announced Saturday on her Instagram.

“Since I went through free agency this time, I’m of course thinking about where I can compete for my third championship, but keywords and family are what I keep coming back to… I need to be there for my daughter, son, and wife,” Parker wrote. “I can’t be without them in parts of the season when Layla is at school and I won’t miss volleyball games or school dances just because of the distance. Layla starts high school in August and I need to be there for her, just as she was there for me.”

“After assessing the landscape with my family, we have decided that the Las Vegas Aces are the right organization for us at this point in our lives.”

Her agent, Boris Lichitsky, told ESPN on Saturday that Parker’s contract with the Aces will be for one year. Her salary is still under negotiation.

long time former Los Angeles Sparks The star has spent the past two seasons playing for her hometown team, the Chicago Skyhelping them to their first title in 2021. As the No. 2 seed in the playoffs last season, Chicago was upset by Connecticut Sun In losing the winner takes all Game 5 at home during the semifinal round.

“Candice has done so much for our franchise in her time here,” Sky coach and general manager James Wade said in a statement. “I understand her reasons for wanting to be closer to her immediate family. We wish her nothing but the best. She will always be part of the Sky family. We will celebrate her time here as she deserves.”

Parker will join the two-time WNBA MVP group Aja WilsonAll-WNBA Team member Kelsey Bloom and Finals MVP Chelsea GrayThey are all freshmen to the WNBA title, the franchise’s first, last season. While fellow free agents Brianna Stewart And Courtney Vandersloot Still yet to announce their decisions, Parker joining the Aces makes Vegas, for now, the undisputed favorite to win the title again in 2023.

A source told ESPN that there was mutual interest in a Parker and Sparks reunion, but she instead chose the defending champion Aces with the help of Wilson recruiting her. Parker is also close friends with Gray, her former classmate in Los Angeles.

“Cue the reunion a** song,” Gray tweeted after Parker’s announcement.

On the other hand, Wilson was confused.

“Snajajsodmfmdoskanexirmsnwkandickrlfowaknwziendoeke yes,” she tweeted.

Parker, 36, is widely considered one of the best players to ever play the game as a two-time champion with Tennessee, a former #1 WNBA draft pick and seven-time All-Star, while also compiling 10 finishes each to his WNBA name. . In addition to winning MVP her rookie season — the only player to achieve the feat — she took home the honor in 2013 as well as Finals MVP in 2016.

Parker previously made waves in 2021 when she left the Sparks, the organization that drafted her in 2008, to sign with the Sky, citing a desire to play near where she grew up, Naperville, Illinois. After initially indicating that she was considering retiring after the 2022 season, her decision to sign with the Aces is having an equally seismic effect on the WNBA landscape.

“When I made the decision to go to Chicago in 2021, I made the decision to go home and be with my family to the place where it all began. I am so grateful for the opportunity to win a championship in my hometown and parade on the same streets that I watched the bullshow when I signed up. Little girl in love with the game of basketball,” Parker wrote. “I am forever grateful for everyone in Chicago — our fans, teammates, coaches, and ownership. But more than in the past two seasons, I am grateful for the city that raised me, the childhood friends I still have to this day, the teachers I still learn from, and the moments in time that will remain in my heart.” forever.

“While Chicago will always be my home, my family’s home is on the West Coast.”

Free agents, including Parker, are allowed to sign contracts starting February 1.

Some speculated that a major free agency move might be on the table for the Aces after they traded two-time All-Stars Derekah Hamby Earlier this week and since then Hamby has accused the Aces of treating her in an “unprofessional and unethical manner…that was traumatic” over her pregnancy.

Las Vegas hopes to become the first team to win back-to-back titles since the Sparks in 2001 and 2002. Parker will become the first WNBA player to win a title with three different franchises if she wins one title with the Aces.

ESPN senior writer Ramona Shelburne contributed to this report.

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