Two-time MVP Candace Parker is set to make a return to the court, reinforcing the Las Vegas Aces as they strive to defend their 2023 championship title.
According to reports from Rachel Galligan of Winsidr and Ben Pickman of The Athletic, Parker has agreed to a one-year contract with the team.
Despite being 37 years old, Parker remains a formidable presence on the court, as evidenced by her performance last season, where she averaged 9.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 3.7 assists in 18 games with Las Vegas.
Following foot surgery last July, Parker was sidelined for the remainder of the season, missing out on Las Vegas’ successful bid for a second consecutive championship. However, she expressed optimism about her readiness for the upcoming season, stating her unwillingness to play through pain any longer.
Parker’s return signals a significant boost for the Aces, providing depth and experience to complement the team’s existing talent. With stars like A’ja Wilson, Chelsea Gray, Jackie Young, and Kelsey Plum leading the roster, Parker’s addition solidifies Las Vegas as a force to be reckoned with in the WNBA.
Despite missing Parker and Gray during the 2023 Finals, the Aces emerged victorious, underscoring their resilience and determination. Parker’s versatile skill set, which includes a 46.5 percent shooting accuracy overall and 33.3 percent from beyond the arc, adds a crucial dimension to the team’s strategy.
Moreover, Parker’s decision to return could have ramifications for another prominent player, Elena Delle Donne. Reports from The Next’s Jenn Hatfield suggest that Delle Donne is likely to seek a new team despite receiving a core offer from the Washington Mystics.
Las Vegas had been a plausible destination for Delle Donne, particularly if Parker remained sidelined. However, with Parker’s return, the Aces are no longer in contention, and options for Delle Donne are dwindling. The Phoenix Mercury, who recently acquired 2021 Finals MVP Kahleah Copper, are also off the table.
With limited options available, Delle Donne may need to consider alternatives, potentially necessitating a salary adjustment from her previous earnings. The New York Liberty, having missed out on Nneka Ogwumike, could emerge as a suitable destination for the seven-time All-Star.