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Sparks plan to pursue Candace Parker in WNBA free agency

Parker spent 13 seasons in Los Angeles before signing with Chicago in 2021. (Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

WNBA free agency negotiations begin on Jan. 21, and new Los Angeles Sparks head coach Curt Miller and general manager Karen Bryant are well aware of who is on the market.

That includes one player in particular: Former Sparks and current Chicago Sky star Candace Parker.

Parker was drafted by the Sparks in 2008, and she spent 13 seasons with the team before signing with the Sky in free agency in 2021. She won a title with Los Angeles and was named Finals MVP in 2016, and she went on to win another championship in her first season in Chicago.

And while Miller and Bryant can’t say officially that they want to bring Parker back to the franchise, they certainly aren’t opposed to the idea.

“Candace’s relationship with this city and this franchise is well-known,” Bryant said. “We are as keenly interested as any party as to what Candace may decide she wants to do. When the time is right, look forward to paying attention to that and engaging in conversations if the opportunity presents itself.

“But clearly we are not in a position to do that, and have had no dialogue. We will be anxiously waiting to see what comes out of her camp and what she is thinking.”

Miller spent one season with the Sparks as an assistant coach in 2015, a year he says shaped his entire career and made coming back to the franchise a “no-brainer.” He had the opportunity to coach Parker during that time.

“As free agency starts, I’m looking forward to some tremendous conversations,” Miller said, adding that he agreed with Bryant’s statement.

The Sparks selected Parker with the No. 1 pick in the 2008 WNBA draft. In 13 seasons with the team, she averaged 16.9 points, 8.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.6 blocks and 1.3 steals per game.

In two seasons with the Sky, Parker has recorded 13.2 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.1 blocks per contest.

Her résumé over the last 15 seasons includes two WNBA MVPS, seven WNBA All-Star appearances, seven All-WNBA First Team honors, two WNBA titles and a Finals MVP award.