Candace Parker on WNBA return: 'I plan to come back'

Candace Parker doesn't sound ready to end her WNBA career.

The two-time MVP and seven-time All-Star said Monday she plans to return in 2023 despite insinuating in May that 2022 would be her final season.

"Right now, yeah, I'm game. Let's see if my body is this way in January or February. But I plan to play. I plan to come back," Parker told The Athletic's Richard Deitsch on the Sports Media Podcast. "But at the same time last year, it was the reverse. I couldn't imagine lacing up shoes again. I couldn't imagine going through game 27 on the schedule. And then a switch flipped in February and I was ready to go.

Parker, 36, finished up her 15th WNBA season this past year and second with the Chicago Sky where she averaged 13.2 points per game and 8.6 rebounds per game. Chicago lost to the Connecticut Sun in the WNBA semifinals and Parker earned her seventh All-Star nod.

But before the season, Parker agreed with the assumption that she wouldn't return in 2022 and also told Business Insider's Meredith Cash that she planned to watch incoming players like Aliyah Boston, Caitlin Clark, and Paige Bueckers "from the sideline."

That no longer seems to be the case, though, as Parker noted in her conversation with Deitsch.

"I like to take the offseason and take my time," Parker added, "but, you know, right now I don't know if I've dribbled my last ball on the court."

Right now, though, Parker is an impending free agent. Her two-year, $385,000 contract with the Sky ended after this past season and it's unknown if or where Parker will end up. Since 2018, Parker served as an analyst and commentator for Turner Sports on shows like NBA on TNT as well as during the NCAA Tournament.

Though it's moot now, Parker wasn't the only WNBA legend to leave the league this year. Sue Bird and Sylvia Fowles both retired after illustrious careers. Parker's potential return, though, now adds to the growing list of this offseason's biggest questions heading into next year as the Las Vegas Aces prepare to defend their title.