Candace Parker Plans To Return For Her 16th Season [Video]

Candace Parker is months removed from a masterful 15th WNBA season. She made her seventh All-Star appearance, was named to the All-WNBA First Team and helped lead the Chicago Sky to the league’s second-best record en route to a five-game, semifinals loss against the Connecticut Sun.

via: Chicago Sun Times

Candace Parker isn’t done playing professionally.

At least, that’s what she indicated on Richard Deitsch’s podcast released Wednesday morning.

“Right now, ya, I’m game,” Parker said during the 42-minute interview. “Let’s see if my body is this way in January and February.”

Parker entered the 2022 WNBA season under the expectation that it would be her last, she told colleague Kristin Ledlow in a preseason interview. But as the year progressed it was evident the two-time WNBA champion had plenty left to give the game.

She made history more than once, becoming the first player in the league to eclipse 6,000 points, 3,000 rebounds and 1,500 assists in June. She was the first player to record three career triple-doubles, and did it in just three quarters in her first game back at Arena. Parker is among the top 10 in the WNBA’s all-time points (10th), assists (8th), rebounds (3rd) and blocks (5th) lists.

In September she became the first player to record at least 15 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 blocks in a playoff game. She had 19 points, 18 rebounds, 6 blocks, 5 assists and 4 steals in the Sky’s 68-63 Game 1 semifinal loss to the Connecticut Sun.

When the Sky’s season ended in a Game 5 loss to the Sun, Parker remained vague on her plans for the 2023 season, saying, “I won’t cheat the game,” in response to a question about retirement. Six days after that loss Parker was back working out, fueled by the Sky’s unceremonious exit.

Asked about the prospect of returning for another season in the WNBA, Parker wasn’t crystal clear, but she was more forthcoming than she ever has been before.

“I plan to play,” Parker said. “I plan to come back, but at the same time last year, it was the reverse. [This time last year] I couldn’t imagine lacing up shoes again. I couldn’t imagine going through Game 27 on the schedule, and then a switch flipped in February, and I was ready to go.”

Parker is an unrestricted free agent after signing a two-year contract with the Sky in 2021.

WNBA free agency officially begins on Jan. 1, when teams can make qualifying offers to free agents. Teams must extend qualifying offers by Jan. 14. On Jan. 15, free agents can begin contract negotiations and/or accept their qualifying offers. Free agents who don’t accept qualifying offers can begin signing on Feb. 1.

When Parker signed with the Sky as an unrestricted free agent in 2021, she said that the only team she would leave the Sparks, the team that drafted her first overall in the 2008 draft, for was her hometown franchise. If Parker does return for another season, it’s a safe assumption that it will be to play for the Sky or the Sparks.

Parker sparked a familiar uncommitted tone as she continued her response to the question about retirement, indicating nothing about her future is certain.

Until she’s signed and under contract anything is possible.

“I like to take the offseason and take my time,” Parker said. “Right now, I don’t know if I’ve dribbled my last ball on the court.”

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