Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Sparks have signed forward Candace Parker to a multi-year contract extension the organization announced Wednesday.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Parker became the first WNBA player to win both Rookie of the Year and MVP honors in 2008. That same year, she won a gold medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Since then, however, Parker has missed significant portions of each season due to pregnancy, shoulder surgery and, last year, a knee injury that left her sidelined for all but 17 games. Despite missing much of the early season in 2009 after giving birth to her daughter, Parker was named to the All-WNBA second team, and despite last season's knee injury, Parker was elected to the 2011 All-Star Game. (Her place was taken by Tulsa's Liz Cambage when Parker was unable to play). The versatile 6-3 forward averaged 18.5 points with 8.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists in her 17 appearances last year, leading the Sparks in both points and rebounds per game, and would have been ranked fourth in the league in those two statistics had she played the minimum amount of games. She had six of her career 38 double-doubles last season.
"Candace is one of those players in the league that you want to build your team with," said Sparks general manager Penny Toler in a statement. "Candace is healthy and will be a critical piece for our championship run this season. We have a loaded team and we expect to win now."
Parker also sat out most of the 2010 season because of a dislocated shoulder. She has averaged 17.2 points with 9.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 85 games, all but two as a starter.
"I am excited to continue to be a member of the Los Angeles Sparks," Parker said. "The Sparks have always been committed to success and making the right moves to build upon their rich tradition in the WNBA."
The Sparks will tip-off the 2012 season Friday, May 18, at the Seattle Storm in the front end of a home-and-home that weekend. The same two teams will do battle at STAPLES Center on Sunday, May 20, at 5:30 p.m. PST.