The defending champion Las Vegas Aces have officially signed two-time MVP Candace Parker, the team announced on Wednesday when the 2023 WNBA free agency moratorium was lifted. Terms of the deal were not announced, but it is a one-year deal, according to Rachel Galligan.
"We are thrilled to have Candace Parker join the Aces family," Aces GM Natalie Williams stated in a press release. "Candace is a future Hall of Famer, a proven champion, and most importantly, an incredible woman. She is a talented play maker, an exceptional leader, and an invaluable piece toward our quest for another championship title. We look forward to welcoming Candace and her family to Las Vegas."
Parker, who played the last two seasons with the Chicago Sky, revealed her decision in a lengthy Instagram post over the weekend. She indicated that she wanted to play somewhere closer to her wife and children, who reside on the West Coast, which made the Aces an ideal landing spot as she chases her third WNBA title.
"I need to be there for my daughter, for my son, for my wife," Parker wrote on Instagram. "I can't be without them for parts of the season when Lailaa is in school and I won't miss her volleyball games or school dances simply because of distance. Lailaa starts high school in August and I need to be there for her, just as she's been there for me.
"After evaluating the landscape together with my family, we've decided the Las Vegas Aces are the right organization for us at this point in our lives."
Parker also expressed her gratitude to the Sky and the entire city of Chicago for their support during her time there.
"I'm forever appreciative of everyone in Chicago - our fans, teammates, coaches, and ownership," Parker wrote. "But more than the past two seasons, I'm thankful to the city that raised me, the childhood friends I still have to this day, the teachers I still am learning from, and the moments in time that will forever be in my heart."
Parker has publicly contemplated retirement for a few years, but even at 36 years old is still one of the league's best players. She averaged 13.2 points, 8.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game last season, and made her seventh All-Star appearance. During her two seasons in Chicago, she helped her hometown Sky win the first title in franchise history in 2021 and finish with a franchise-record 26 regular season wins in 2022.
It's worth noting that the Aces were able to create the cap space to sign Parker by trading two-time Sixth Player of the Year Dearica Hamby to the Los Angeles Sparks in somewhat controversial circumstances. Hamby said the Aces' management was "unprofessional" and "unethical" toward her after she announced her pregnancy last September. The WNBA Players Association has announced that it will be investigating the Aces for their treatment of Hamby.