- Candace Parker is joining the Chicago Sky after 13 seasons with the Los Angeles Sparks.
- The WNBA superstar consulted Kevin Durant and Dwyane Wade before making the blockbuster FA move.
- The NBA stars told Parker, “You need to follow your heart.”
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Candace Parker made waves when she chose to join the Sky and return home to Chicago after 13 seasons with the Los Angeles Sparks.
But before she rocked the WNBA with the biggest free agency move in recent history, she consulted some trusted sources on the men’s side.
During her first media availability with the Sky on Tuesday, Parker revealed that she “really want to get advice from Dwyane Wade and Kevin Durant” about navigating free agency as a superstar basketball player.
“Those were two players that I have a close relationship with as well as I value their opinions and their experiences, and both had completely different experiences,” Parker said. “Dwyane Wade coming back to Chicago, then going to Cleveland, then going back to Miami. And Kevin Durant going to Golden State, which took a lot, and then going from Golden State now to the Brooklyn Nets.”
Parker had said earlier in the session that Chicago and Los Angeles were the only destinations on her radar and that she wouldn’t have considered taking her talents elsewhere. But when it came to choosing between her hometown Sky and the Sparks â€” the only WNBA team she’s ever played for â€” Wade and Durant had some simple insight.
“The biggest thing that I got from them was ‘You need to follow your heart,'” Parker said. “‘You need to follow what you want and what you desire and let all of that other stuff take care of itself.'”
“And so I think that’s what I ultimately did,” she added.
Parker also spoke of the importance of “players [having] the choice to do what they want to do” and play where their hearts desire. The WNBA’s new collective bargaining agreement â€” which the league and players’ union agreed upon in early 2020 â€” gave athletes increased flexibility and negotiation power in free agency. Now, WNBA free agency looks a bit more like free agency in the NBA â€” where, more often than not, the biggest stars suit up for multiple teams throughout their careers.
Without the modernised CBA, Parker may not have had the same autonomy to leave the franchise where she collected two MVP awards, five All-Star nods, and a WNBA championship. But after giving “everything I had to the Sparks organisation” for 13 years, Parker was able to start a new chapter.
“I’m leaving because, contractually, I can go where I want, and I can make that decision,” Parker said. “I think player empowerment is something that is super important and talked about more. I do believe that the WNBA and the NBA kind of mimic each other.”
“[If] my journey gives others the power to do what they want to do, I think it’s great.”
Check out Parker’s entire media availability below: