Candace Parker, the two-time WNBA champion and MVP, announced Saturday that she's signing with the Las Vegas Aces as an unrestricted free agent. The Aces signed Parker to a one-year contract, her agent Boris Lelchitski told ESPN on Saturday.
One week earlier, the Aces traded star forward Dearica Hamby and a 2024 first-round pick to the Sparks for a second-round pick and the rights to forward Amanda Zahui B.
Parker played for the Chicago Sky for the last two seasons and since joining the Sky at age 35, her numbers dipped slightly despite two triple-doubles last season. She averaged 13.2 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 4.3 APG, 1.0 SPG, and 1.1 BPG with the Sky after averaging 16.9 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 3.9 APG, 1.3 SPG, and 1.6 BPG in 31.2 MPG from 2008-2020 while with the Los Angeles Sparks.
With the talent surrounding her in Las Veags, she should be able to maintain the level of fantasy production she had with the Sky but there are a lot of other options on the roster.
Las Vegas brings back its core of A'ja Wilson, Kelsey Plum, Jackie Young, Chelsea Gray and Riquna Williams. This group accounted for 79.6% of the team's points, 84.0% of their assists, 57.8% of their rebounds, 73.2% of their steals and 66.4% of their blocks last season. As much as the Aces relied heavily on their starters last season, they could use some more depth on the bench, since the bench produced less than the starters.
With the addition of Parker, Las Vegas' starting five is the best in the league. To be candid, Hamby was a great player for the Aces last season, but Parker is better due to her versatility on both offense and defense.
Having this versatility should allow Parker and Wilson to play both frontcourt positions. Putting the ball in Parker's hands also allows Gray to operate more as a scorer, and the two already have a rapport since they were teammates for five seasons in Los Angeles where they won a championship back in 2016. Parker, Wilson, Young and Plum playing together this season will make WNBA history as the 4th time four No. 1 overall picks have been on the same team.
Parker is a player fantasy managers can feel comfortable selecting, but how does her departure affect the Sky?
In contrast to the Aces, the Sky are in a dire situation. Without Parker in Chicago, unrestricted free agent Courtney Vandersloot, who has met with numerous teams, may also depart. Additionally, Emma Meesseman, Azura Stevens and Allie Quigley are unrestricted free agents, which does not bode well for the Sky.
The only returning starter for the Sky is Kahleah Copper, who was the MVP of the 2021 Finals. She averaged 15.7 PPG, 5.7 RPG and 2.3 APG. While Copper is the most fantasy-relevant player on the Sky's roster, this upcoming season is shaping up to be a rebuilding one.