Feb 21, 2023 - Sports

WNBA star Brittney Griner signs new contract with the Phoenix Mercury

 Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury during the 2021 WNBA Finals.

Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury during the 2021 WNBA Finals. Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

WNBA star Brittney Griner has signed a deal with the Phoenix Mercury, the team announced Tuesday.

The big picture: Griner was released late last year in a prisoner swap between the U.S. and Russia that caught international attention. Her incarceration led her to miss the 2022 season.

Details: ESPN reports Griner, who was a free agent, signed a one-year, $165,100 contract with the Mercury on Saturday.

What they're saying: "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," Mercury General manager Jim Pitman said in a press release.

  • The Mercury "will continue to use the resources of our organization to support her, on and off the floor," he added.
  • Representatives for Griner did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Catch up quick: In December 2022, the WNBA star was exchanged in a prisoner swap for convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. She landed back home in the U.S. at a Texas military base days later.

  • Russian officials arrested Griner in February at a Moscow-area airport after finding a vape cartridge with cannabis oil in her luggage.

Flashback: In her first public comments after coming home, Griner said she intended "to play basketball for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury this season."

  • "I look forward to being able to say ‘thank you’ to those of you who advocated, wrote, and posted for me in person soon," she said.

Go deeper: How the Biden admin says Brittney Griner's release happened

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