According to Annie Costabile of the Chicago Sun-Times, Candace Parker has already met with the Chicago Sky and Los Angeles Sparks and plans to meet with the Las Vegas Aces during free agency.
Parker, 36, is coming off an All-WNBA first team selection this past season and a two-year stint in Chicago where she helped guide the Sky to their first championship. She spent the first 13 years of her career with the Los Angeles Sparks where she won rookie of the year, MVP, a title and defensive player of the year after being drafted with the first overall pick in 2008.
Heading into the offseason, it didn’t look like the Aces could be serious players for the top free agents in this year’s class. They only had $138,600 in cap space before trading two-time all-star Dearica Hamby and a first round pick to the Sparks yesterday. Las Vegas now has over 307,000 to work with and can fit Parker within the cap sheet.
The on-court fit for the Aces has an obvious appeal. Las Vegas has all-stars Kelsey Plum, Jackie Young and A’ja Wilson coming back in 2023 along with Parker’s former teammate and 2022 Finals MVP Chelsea Gray. By replacing Kiah Stokes with one of the league’s premier two-way bigs in WNBA history, the Aces would enter next season as the prohibitive favorites. Parker would also be closer to her family who lives in Los Angeles.
The recent development around Hamby’s falling out with the Aces could serve as a dealbreaker for Parker, however. The former Aces’ forward alleged Las Vegas’ ownership group treated her in an unethical way after it found out she was pregnant.
“Being traded is part of the business,” Hamby said in a statement posted on Instagram. “Being lied to, bullied, manipulated, and discriminated against is not.”
Parker hosted a podcast about parenting and is vocal about the importance of family in her life. Going to an organization that has not commented on Hamby’s accusation might not sit right with someone with Parker’s values.