Candace Parker indicates she might return to WNBA in 2023

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

SHARE Candace Parker indicates she might return to WNBA in 2023
Candace Parker won’t rule out playing another season in the WNBA.

Candace Parker won’t rule out playing another season in the WNBA.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Candace Parker isn’t done playing professionally. 

At least that’s what she indicated on Richard Deitsch’s sports-media podcast released Wednesday. 

“Right now, yeah, 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 with the expectation it would be her last, she told TNT’s 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. 

Parker made history more than once last season. She became the first player in the league to eclipse 6,000 points, 3,000 rebounds and 1,500 assists. She was the first player to record three career triple-doubles, and the third came in just three quarters in her first game back in Los Angeles, where she spent her first 13 seasons. Parker is in the top 10 on the WNBA’s all-time lists for points (10th), assists (eighth), rebounds (third) and blocks (fifth). 

She became the first player to record at least 15 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and five blocks in a playoff game. She had 19 points, 18 rebounds, six blocks, five assists and four steals in the Sky’s Game 1 semifinal loss to the Sun. 

When the Sky’s season ended with a Game 5 loss to the Sun, Parker remained vague about her plans for 2023. When asked about retiring, she said, “I won’t cheat the game.” Six days after that loss, Parker was back working out, fueled by the Sky’s early exit. 

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

“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 begins Jan. 1, when teams can make qualifying offers to applicable free agents, including utilizing the core designation. The deadline to make them is Jan. 14. On Jan. 15, free agents can begin contract negotiations. As an unrestricted free agent, Parker can negotiate with any team and enter into a contract Feb. 1.  Free agents who accept qualifying offers can begin signing on Jan. 15.

When Parker signed with the Sky, she said the only team she would leave the Sparks for was her hometown franchise. If Parker returns for another season, it likely will be to play for the Sky or the Sparks. 

Parker maintained an uncommitted tone on the podcast, indicating nothing about her future is certain. Until she’s 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.”

The Latest
Some towns say they’re already overburdened. Nonprofit organizations working to help migrants say suburbs could pass the money to them.
Ald. Brendan Reilly said he’s concerned paying a settlement to Bryan Mejia, who suffered a fractured leg and torn ACL, will invite protesters expected for the Democratic National Convention to wreak havoc, then bombard the city with lawsuits.
Reed fired at the officers first, prompting them to fire back. He turned a traffic stop into a violent incident, a reader from Irving Park writes.
At a ribbon-cutting on Monday, the Illinois Secretary of State made it clear he wants to call it a DMV.