The 2021 WNBA free agency has started off with a bang. According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, Candace Parker will be leaving the Los Angeles Sparks after 13 seasons to play for the Chicago Sky.
On Monday, the Sky officially announced that Parker will play in Chicago next season in a news release calling the deal “one of the biggest free-agent moves in the history of the WNBA.”
The Sky have been moving in the right direction the last few seasons under new coach James Wade, but they were eliminated in heartbreaking fashion in the 2019 playoffs.
“We have great players, we have great young players, we have great veterans. But Candace Parker is a once-in-a-generation-type player,” said Wade. “The fact that she’s a leader, Finals MVP, (league) MVP, all these things, the fact that she’s won on every level consistently. Every team doesn’t have that. Really nobody has ever signed a free agent like this. For us to be the team that has the biggest free-agency signing in league history is special. It means that our players are doing something right, our organization is doing something right,” he added.
The reigning Defensive Player of the Year became the No. 1 pick in the 2008 WNBA draft. She played her first 13 seasons with the Los Angeles Sparks, winning the MVP award twice and Finals MVP in 2016.
“Chicago is where my family raised me; where I first learned the game of basketball; and where I first fell in love with this orange ball,” said Parker in a statement. “I am excited to continue the next chapter of my career where it all began. To my new teammates, my new organization, and my new fans: I’m home.”
In her 13th season, Parker averaged 14.7 points, 9.7 rebounds and 4.6 assists while shooting 51% from the field to finish third in MVP voting.