Brittney Griner Officially Sets WNBA Return With 1-Year Phoenix Mercury Deal
WNBA star Brittney Griner, who was released from a Russian penal colony in December, has now signed a one-year contract to play for the Phoenix Mercury.
According to ESPN, the 32-year-old free agent signed a one-year, $165,100 contract deal on Saturday, allowing her to resume her career with the only WNBA team she has played for since coming into the league.
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The Mercury drafted the All-Star center first overall in 2013. Griner led the team to the WNBA Finals in 2021, but they lost to the Chicago Sky in the championship round.
The two-time Olympic gold medallist was arrested in February 2022 at an airport outside Moscow when she was accused of carrying vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage.
After spending 10 months in a Russian prison, Griner was released in a prisoner swap. The U.S. negotiated a deal with Russia in exchange for arms dealer Viktor Bout, Reuters reported.
“I intend to play basketball for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury this season, and in doing so, I look forward to being able to say ‘thank you’ to those of you who advocated, wrote, and posted for me in person soon,” Griner wrote in a press release after returning to the U.S.
The Mercury will open the season against the Los Angeles Sparks on May 19.