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Brittney Griner signs a one-year contract with the Phoenix Mercury

Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi, left, high-fives teammate Brittney Griner during a 2014 WNBA basketball game in Phoenix. Griner plans to return to the Mercury on a one-year contract, a source tells the AP.
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AP
Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi, left, high-fives teammate Brittney Griner during a 2014 WNBA basketball game in Phoenix. Griner plans to return to the Mercury on a one-year contract, a source tells the AP.

Updated February 21, 2023 at 1:46 PM ET

Brittney Griner is headed back to the Phoenix Mercury for her 10th season after signing a one-year contract, the WNBA team announced Tuesday.

The 32-year-old Griner had said in December that she planned to return to her professional career with Phoenix. That promise was made in her first social media post after she returned home from her 10-month imprisonment in Russia.

"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," said Jim Pitman, the team's general manager, in a statement.

The 6-foot-9 center was arrested last year at an airport outside of Moscow after authorities found cannabis oil in her possession. Russia prohibits the use of cannabis, according to the Associated Press. The State Department said she was wrongfully detained following her arrest.

At the time, Griner was traveling in Russia to start a season of professional basketball. (WNBA athletes often play overseas during the off-season to supplement their incomes because of gender pay disparities with their NBA colleagues.) Her detention caused her to miss the entire 2022 WNBA season.

Her ordeal ended in a high-stakes prisoner exchange in December. It had been unclear what her future with the WNBA would be after her detention.

Griner has played with the Mercury since she was drafted No. 1 by the team back in 2013 after graduating from Baylor University. She is considered one of the best WNBA players of all time. She is an eight-time All-Star, a two-time scoring leader and one of just 11 players to have won an Olympic, World Cup, WNBA and NCAA title.

The WNBA's next season starts on May 19. The Mercury are scheduled to play against the Los Angeles Sparks.

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