When the 2020 free agency period commenced, the first domino that dropped was when Angel McCoughtry, a long-timer with the Atlanta Dream went west to the Las Vegas Aces, a move that was pivotal in the Aces’ run to the WNBA Finals in the bubble last season.
The 2021 free agency period appears to have begun in similar fashion – with a huge name taking her talents to a new (or in this case, familiar) city.
Per various reports (and first written by ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, Candace Parker, who has played 13 seasons with the Los Angeles Sparks (and won the 2016 championship with LA), will leave Tinseltown for the Windy City, joining the Chicago Sky.
Candace Parker to play for hometown Chicago Sky after 13 seasons with Los Angeles Sparks, sources say https://t.co/dfTMNrOa6Q
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) January 27, 2021
The news is a homecoming for Parker who is from Chicago. Prior to playing under Pat Summitt at Tennessee, Parker was a former Miss Illinois Basketball at Naperville Central High School.
Parker joining the Sky firmly places Chicago in the 2021 WNBA championship picture alongside other would be contenders such as the Washington Mystics, Las Vegas Aces and defending champion Seattle Storm.
With a roster that already included Courtney Vandersloot, Allie Quigley, Gabby Williams, Diamond DeShields, Stefanie Dolson and Ruthy Hebard plus being led by the 2019 Coach of the Year in James Wade, Wintrust Arena figures to be the site of many wins for Chicago’s WNBA team.
As for the Sparks, it is probably hard at Staples Center to process the idea of moving forward without Parker in the purple and gold No. 3 uniform. Los Angeles is reportedly re-upping with Nneka Ogwumike, but with Parker seemingly en route to Chicago and rumors abound regarding Chelsea Gray and the Aces, Sparks fans may take yet another look at Derek Fisher and his role with the team – particularly when that role was expanded to include the duties of general manager.
Of course, when adding someone such as Parker, that would take up a lot of space in a salary cap situation. While it appears Chicago will be adding one C. Parker, another C. Parker will be leaving as reports have Cheyenne Parker going to the Atlanta Dream.
— WinsidrAryeh (@WinsidrAryeh) January 28, 2021
Speaking of the Dream, one of the signature pieces to its 2020 roster was Betnijah Laney, who was the WNBA’s Most Improved Player for the season in the bubble. Reports now have Laney singing with the New York Liberty.
— Howard Megdal (@howardmegdal) January 28, 2021
In addition, Kayla McBride, one of the WNBA’s premier 3-point shooters and an important element to the Aces’ recent success, is rumored to be on the move to the Minnesota Lynx, giving Cheryl Reeve’s team a boost for its shooting.
Sources have told @winsidr that Kayla McBride has verbally agreed to terms of a multi-year deal with the Minnesota Lynx.
— Rachel Galligan (@RachGall) January 27, 2021