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Brittney Griner officially rejoins Mercury in ‘special signing’

May 20, 2019; Phoenix, AZ, USA; WNBA MVP candidate and All Stars player Brittney Griner during media day before she enters her eighth season with Phoenix Mercury. Mandatory Credit: Nick Oza/The Republic-USA TODAY NETWORK
Credit: The Arizona Republic-USA TODAY NETWORK

Free agent Brittney Griner officially re-signed with the Phoenix Mercury, the team announced Tuesday.

The contract is for one year, multiple outlets reported, with financial terms not revealed.

Griner, 32, has played nine seasons with the Mercury but didn’t play in 2022 because of her arrest and conviction in Russia on drug charges. She returned to the United States in December after 10 months in Russia’s hands following a long negotiation of a prisoner swap.

After her release, Griner said she intended to return to the WNBA and the Mercury.

“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.”

Mercury president Vince Kozar went a step further.

“I do not think any of us will forget where we were on Dec. 8 when we heard BG was coming home or on Dec. 15 when she announced she intended not only to play basketball in 2023 but that it would be for the Mercury,” Kozar said in a statement. “And I know none of us will ever forget what it will feel like to welcome her back onto her home floor on May 21 (against the Chicago Sky).

“To know BG is to love and appreciate BG, and we can’t wait to show her that in person with thousands and thousands of her biggest supporters exactly three months from today at our ‘Welcome Home Opener.'”

Griner is a seven-time All-Star and was part of the Mercury’s 2014 WNBA title team. She is the league’s all-time leader in blocked shots per game with 2.8.

In 2021, Griner started 30 games for the Mercury, averaging 20.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists. The Mercury selected her with the No. 1 overall pick in 2013.

–Field Level Media