WNBA stars Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi have both expressed their intentions to remain with the Phoenix Mercury next season and to play at the 2024 Paris Olympics.
The Mercury’s season ended on Sunday, as the team missed the playoffs for the first time since 2012. Phoenix finished last in the league standings at 9-31.
As she prepares to enter the upcoming offseason as a free agent, Griner, who turns 33 in October, said she intends to sign with the Mercury.
“Phoenix is home. It’s where I’ve been,” Griner told reporters. “Me and my wife literally just got a place (here). This is it.”
Regarding the Paris Olympics next year, the two-time gold medalist said: “If I get the invite, I’m going to show up, of course.
“There’s no greater honor than playing for the USA, playing for your country. I’ve got some really good memories with Team USA, so I would love the chance to continue that.”
Griner returned to play with the Mercury this season after she was freed in December from wrongful detention in Russia. Earlier this year, she said that she will “never go overseas again” to play basketball in light of what happened, unless it’s for the Olympics.
The nine-time All-Star added that she plans to use the upcoming offseason to get herself properly conditioned for the 2024 season.
“Just conditioning, getting my weight where I want it and not trying to do that in the middle of the season, pretty hard, pretty tough,” Griner said.
“Being able to take this first offseason that I have now I’ve never had before, where I could actually work on myself – my game, body, conditioning, everything, studying the game and not having to worry about what my team needs from me if I was overseas. Now, I can just worry about what I need to do for my team here this whole offseason.”
Griner got visibly emotional when asked about the death of Bill Richardson, the former Democratic governor of New Mexico who traveled to Russia to discuss Griner’s possible release with Kremlin officials.
“That was very tough,” Griner said. “Really good man. So much good. So much good. I owe a lot to him.”
Taurasi, meanwhile, will be 42 next season, and she is under contract for the Mercury in 2024. During the season, Taurasi became the first player in WNBA history to score 10,000 career points.
She told reporters that she’s excited about what the Mercury will do in free agency and with salary cap space.
“I’ve got another year on my contract and I’m definitely going to fulfill that,” Taurasi said.
Regarding the Olympics, she said that she’ll “be doing my best to hopefully be on that team.”
“If I’m lucky enough to be on that team, I’ll be ready to represent my country,” Taurasi added.