Brittney Griner Locks WNBA Return After Signing 1-Year Deal With Phoenix Mercury

The professional female basketball player has reportedly signed a one-year, $165,100 contract with the team, which she played for during the 2021 WNBA season.

AceShowbiz - Brittney Griner is returning to the WNBA, nearly three months after her release from a Russian jail. The professional basketball player is reportedly set to be back with Phoenix Mercury in the upcoming 2023 season.

A source confirmed to ESPN that the 32-year-old free agent signed a one-year, $165,100 contract with the Mercury on Saturday, February 18. She will return to the team that drafted her first overall in 2013 for a 10th season.

Griner last played during the 2021 WNBA season, during which she led the Mercury to the Finals. They eventually lost to the Chicago Sky, 3 games to 1. She missed the 2022 season while in detention in Russia.

Griner was arrested on drug smuggling charges on February 17, 2022 after being caught carrying vaporizer cartridges containing less than a gram of hash oil at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow. On December 8, she was released in a 1-for-1 prisoner swap for arms dealer Viktor Bout, known as "The Merchant of Death".

Since her release, there was a question about her professional career, but she has vowed to return to court and expressed her wish to play with the Mercury again. "I also want to make one thing very clear: I intend to play basketball for the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury this season," she said in a statement shortly after her release.

She also extended her gratitude to those expressing support and helping her return to the U.S. "From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone for your help," she wrote in the Instagram post. "I look forward to being able to say 'thank you' to those of you who advocated, wrote, and posted for me in person soon."

The 2023 WNBA season starts in mid-May. The terms of Griner's new deal have not been announced yet as neither Griner nor the team has issued a statement on the signing.

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