With her Russian imprisonment behind her, it’s time for Brittney Griner‘s basketball career to resume.
The free agent has officially re-signed with the Phoenix Mercury.
The team announced the signing Tuesday, as the WNBA gears up for the 2023 season to start in the coming months.
Team brass recognizes how Griner’s presence was missed on the floor and are excited to assist in her transition back to a life of basketball.
“It’s a great day for all of us to announce that Brittney Griner has officially signed to play for the Mercury in 2023,” general manager Jim Pitman said in a statement.
“We missed BG every day that she was gone and, while basketball was not our primary concern, her presence on the floor, in our locker room, around our organization, and within our community was greatly missed. We will continue to use the resources of our organization to support her, on and off the floor, and we are thrilled for her that she gets to return to basketball, which she loves so dearly. This is a special signing and today is a special day for all of us.”
Details include that the deal is for one year and worth $165,100 which is a 32% drop from last season and far less than the $234,936 supermax for which she was eligible. But its more important that she’s been in Phoenix, part of a promise she made late last year on Instagram when she wrote, “I also want to make one thing very clear: 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 was stuck in Russia for 10 months after being arrested at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport in February 2022 for carrying vape cartridges with trace amounts of cannabis oil in her luggage. She was returning to Russia to play for the UMMC Ekaterinburg team, who she led to two Russian championships. The Phoenix Mercury forward, 32, is also a WNBA and two-time Olympic champion.
In December, Brittney Griner was freed after a successful prisoner swap with convicted Russian arms dealer Victor Bout who was found guilty of conspiring to sell weapons to a terrorist organization in 2011.
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