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Two-time MVP Candace Parker will be back to help the Las Vegas Aces defend their 2023 title.
The 37-year-old averaged 9.0 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 18 games with Las Vegas last season.
Last July, Parker underwent foot surgery that ruled her out for the remainder of the campaign, including Las Vegas’ run to a second straight championship. Addressing her potential status for 2024, she said she was hoping to suit up but is “not gonna play in pain anymore.”
Parker’s return to the Aces would seemingly indicate she’ll be good to go by opening night or at least be available for most of the upcoming season. Having her back is a massive luxury given how top-heavy the team’s roster remains.
A’ja Wilson, Chelsea Gray, Jackie Young and Kelsey Plum is by far the best quartet in the WNBA, but Las Vegas’ lack of depth was almost its undoing. It managed to take down the New York Liberty in the 2023 Finals despite missing Parker in addition to Gray for the series-clinching Game 4 win.
Being able to utilize Parker, who shot 46.5 percent overall and 33.3 percent from deep, in the way they do gives the Aces such a big edge.
Her decision could have a major impact for another decorated star potentially on the way out.
Las Vegas made a lot of sense for the seven-time All-Star in the event Parker didn’t feel healthy enough to play again. Now, the Aces are probably off the board, as are the Phoenix Mercury after their blockbuster trade for 2021 Finals MVP Kahleah Copper.
The options are quickly drying up for Delle Donne unless she’s willing to take a significant pay cut from her $234,350 salary in 2023. The Liberty, who were unable to land Nneka Ogwumike, might be her best fit.