Could Candace Parker accelerate Sky's ascension?

  • Candace Sparks of the Los Angeles Sparks, here playing in August against the Sky in Chicago, would fit in well with the Sky, columnist Patricia Babcock McGraw says.

    Candace Sparks of the Los Angeles Sparks, here playing in August against the Sky in Chicago, would fit in well with the Sky, columnist Patricia Babcock McGraw says. Associated Press

Updated 10/11/2019 5:58 PM

So the WNBA season concluded Thursday night with the Washington Mystics winning their first league title in franchise history.

It was a fun, competitive, best-of-five series that was pushed to Game 5 and was back-and-forth to the very end between the Mystics and the Connecticut Sun.


Former Sky star Elena Delle Donne of the Mystics, the most valuable player of the league for the regular season, got her elusive first title.

Former Sky guard Kristi Toliver won a title with her second franchise.

It sure would be nice for current Sky players to be in that position next year. So how does that happen?

Maybe making a change? Maybe bringing home a familiar face?

Sure, the Sky were on the right track this season, putting together 20 wins and a playoff run that ended with a heartbreaker in the second round. Remember that finish in Las Vegas? The Sky had that win, and a date in the semifinals, in the books ... until they didn't, until a crazy steal and half-court shot at the buzzer by the Aces sent the Sky home stunned and heartbroken.

Even after that collapse in Vegas, the Sky are right in the thick of the conversation of 2020 contenders.

But someone else might put the franchise over the top.

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A hammer. A headliner. An A-lister. A hometown hero.

Candace Parker.

Could the Sky get her?

The Naperville Central grad, who has spent her entire career with the Los Angeles Sparks, is 33 and would be in her 13th WNBA season next summer. And it seems like she has more left in her tank. And she might love the chance to win a championship in front of hometown fans.

There are tools in Chicago that would complement Parker well.

Plus, life in Los Angeles seems chaotic and contentious for Parker.

The Sparks imploded in the playoffs, with general manger Penny Toler unleashing a racially charged locker room rant that ultimately got her fired and head coach Derek Fisher making questionable decisions in an elimination playoff game that alienated players, including Parker.

Parker played just 11 minutes (and was not hurt or in foul trouble) in the Game 3 semifinal elimination game against Connecticut.

Afterward, a dejected Parker said reporters should ask Fisher about her playing time. She did not seem happy.

Parker, paid the league maximum of about $118,000, won't be a free agent until 2021. Perhaps she might want to orchestrate or demand a trade, much like Delle Donne and Sylvia Fowles did with the Sky several years ago.


There are five Sky players who make Parker-type money: Courtney Vandersloot, Allie Quigley, Stefanie Dolson, Jantel Lavender and Cheyenne Parker.

I'm not excited about trading away any of those players, but the thought of bringing in Parker is intriguing enough to entertain a few scenarios.

I say Parker would be open to it. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if she's already thinking about it.

What say you, Sky fans? Do you want Parker? Would she put the Sky over the top?

Email or tweet me your thoughts.

Building a 2020 WNBA champion begins now.

Red hot Red Stars: Don't forget the Chicago Red Stars host an NWSL semifinal playoff game at 2:30 p.m. Oct. 20 at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview.

The Red Stars, who have been to the semifinals four straight years but have never advanced to the finals are shooting for their first league championship.

College hoops roll call: College basketball season is around the corner, and once again the DePaul women are entering with lofty expectations.

At Big East Media Day this week, the Blue Demons were unanimously selected by coaches as the preseason favorite after winning their fourth league tournament title in six seasons last year.

The Blue Demons, who have made 17 straight NCAA tournaments, were 26-8 last year and return three starters, including stars Chante Stonewall and Kelly Campbell.

• Twitter: @babcockmcgraw

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