Free agent Brittney Griner, who was detained for ten months in Russia prior to her release in a higher-profile prisoner swap, has officially been re-signed by the Phoenix Mercury, the group announced Tuesday.
“It’s a fantastic day for all of us to announce that Brittney Griner has officially signed to play for the Mercury in 2023,” basic manager Jim Pitman mentioned in a statement. “We missed BG each and every day that she was gone and, whilst basketball was not our main concern, her presence on the floor, in our locker area, about our organization, and inside our neighborhood was drastically missed.
“We will continue to use the sources of our organization to help 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 particular signing and now is a particular day for all of us.”
Sources told ESPN that the a single-year deal is for $165,one hundred.
Griner, who also played pro basketball in Russia, was arrested at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport in February 2022 right after Russian authorities mentioned she was carrying vape canisters with cannabis oil. The U.S. State Department had declared Griner to be “wrongfully detained.”
After months of strained negotiations, and an extraordinarily uncommon public revelation by the President Joe Biden’s administration that it had created a “substantial proposal” to get Griner household as nicely as a further detained American, Paul Whelan, Griner’s case resolved on Dec. eight with a prisoner swap in which the WNBA star was exchanged in the United Arab Emirates for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.
“I do not believe any of us will neglect exactly where we have been on Dec. eight when we heard BG was coming household or on Dec. 15 when she announced she intended not only to play basketball in 2023 but that it would be for the Mercury,” group president Vice Kozar mentioned in a statement. “And I know none of us will ever neglect what it will really feel like to welcome her back onto her household floor on May 21.
“To know BG is to enjoy and appreciate BG, and we can not wait to show her that in individual with thousands and thousands of her most significant supporters specifically 3 months from now at our Welcome Home Opener.”
Since returning household 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 occasion in Phoenix, exactly where she lives.
She skipped a USA Basketball coaching camp earlier this month, but the organization created it clear she could take all the time she necessary to choose if she wanted to play for the U.S. once more.
The WNBA has mentioned it will address finding Griner particular travel accommodations, such as charter flights, right after she signed.
The final time Griner, 32, suited up for the Mercury was in 2021, when she led them on an unexpected run to the WNBA Finals, which Phoenix lost to the Chicago Sky. She missed the 2022 WNBA season whilst in detention in Russia.
Griner had a single of the greatest years of her profession in 2021, averaging 20.five points, 1.9 blocks, two.7 assists, and profession-highs with 9.five rebounds per game, two.four offensive rebounds and a .846 no cost throw percentage.
The Mercury drafted Griner with the No. 1 general choose in 2013.
Phoenix also officially re-signed Diana Taurasi, the WNBA’s all-time top scorer, to a multiyear contract on Saturday.
The Mercury open the season on the road against the Los Angeles Sparks on May 19. The team’s very first household game is two days later against the Chicago Sky.
ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss and M.A. Voepel and The Associated Press contributed to this report.