Report: Candace Parker leaving Sparks to join Chicago Sky
Candace Parker, the Sparks star and reigning WNBA defensive player of the year, has agreed to play with the Chicago Sky, according to reports from multiple media outlets, ending a 13-year career with the Sparks that started when Parker was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 WNBA draft.
Parker, a Naperville, Ill., native, is a two-time MVP and was named Finals MVP in 2016 when she helped the Sparks to the WNBA championship. The 34-year-old forward was one of several free-agent priorities for the Sparks and head coach Derek Fisher, who added general manager responsibilities this year. Upon adding the general manager role in December, Fisher said he had “every intention of making every effort possible to re-sign Candace Parker and make sure she finishes her career in L.A.”
Instead, Parker, an unrestricted free agent, will join Chicago point guard Courtney Vandersloot, who has led the league in assists for four straight years. Parker averaged 14.7 points last season and led the WNBA in rebounds with 9.7. She earned her first league defensive player of the year award, but the Sparks were bounced in the first round of the playoffs.
Nneka Ogwumike had 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists, Riquna Williams also scored 20 points and the L.A. Sparks beat the New York Liberty 96-70.
While players could begin negotiations on Jan. 15, free agents cannot sign contracts until Feb. 1. The Sparks also must negotiate with stars including Nneka Ogwumike and Chelsea Gray. The Sparks retain exclusive negotiating rights to Ogwumike, the team’s designated core player, while Gray is an unrestricted free agent.
Riquna Williams, Seimone Augustus and Reshanda Gray are also unrestricted free agents. Guard Brittney Sykes is a restricted free agent.
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