Brittney Griner is headed back to the Phoenix Mercury. Griner, who was a free agent, re-signed with the Mercury on a one-year contract according to a person familiar with the deal. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Saturday because no announcement has been made.
The 32-year-old Griner had said she would return to Phoenix in a social media post in December, after she returned home from her 10-month ordeal in Russia that included time in a Russian jail. Griner had been arrested at an airport just outside of Moscow on drug possession charges a year ago and was brought home in a dramatic high-level prisoner exchange in December.
The 6-foot-9 center last played for the Mercury in 2021 and helped the team reach the WNBA Finals. She averaged 20.5 points and 9.5 rebounds that season.
The website “Her Hoops Stats” was the first to report Griner’s signing. Griner, who was drafted No. 1 in 2013 by the Mercury, was listed Saturday on Phoenix’s roster on the WNBA website.
Since returning home from Russia, Griner has been out of the public spotlight, with the exception of appearances at the Super Bowl, the Phoenix Open and an MLK Day event in Phoenix, where she lives.
She skipped a USA Basketball training camp earlier this month, but the organization made it clear she could take all the time she needed to decide if she wanted to play for the U.S. again.
The WNBA has said it will address getting Griner special travel accommodations, such as charter flights, after she signed.
“We are very cognizant of BG’s unique situation,” WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert told the AP earlier this month. “We’ve been planning and we’ve been thinking it through with security experts, BG’s side, our side. We’ll find the right time to comment on it when she signs with a team.”
Earlier Saturday, the Mercury signed Diana Taurasi to a multiyear contract. The WNBA’s all-time leading scorer has only played with the Mercury since being drafted No. 1 by the team in 2004.
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