The Phoenix Mercury have signed WNBA standout Brittney Griner to a contract, the organization announced on Tuesday.
The larger picture: Late last year, Griner was freed in a highly publicized prisoner swap involving the United States and Russia. She missed the 2022 season as a result of her sentence.
Details: According to ESPN On Saturday, Griner, a free agent, agreed to a one-year, $165,100 deal with the Mercury.
She was selected first overall by the Mercury in 2013, and this will be her tenth season with them.
Phoenix lost to the Chicago Sky in her final game, which took place in the WNBA Finals in 2021.
What they’re saying: Mercury general manager Jim Pitman stated in a press release that “we missed BG every day that she was gone and, while basketball was not our major concern, her presence on the floor, in our locker room, around our company, and within our community was deeply missed.”
Quick recap: In a prisoner swap that took place in December 2022, the WNBA star was swapped for Viktor Bout, a convicted Russian arms dealer. Days later, she arrived back in the United States at a military post in Texas.
After discovering a vape cartridge filled with cannabis oil in Griner’s luggage, Russian authorities detained her in February at an airport in the Moscow region.
In July of last year, she entered a guilty plea. She was sentenced to nine years in prison and moved to a correctional colony.
Back then, Griner declared that she planned “to play basketball for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury this season” in her first public remarks following her return.