After nearly a year in Russia, Brittney Griner is returning to play in the WNBA with her team Phoenix Mercury, with whom she has a one-season deal. The news of Griner’s return to basketball was announced by specialist portal Her Hoop Stats on Saturday and was later confirmed by ESPN as well. Griner, 32 years old and 2.06 meters tall, will make $165,100 at this court to compete again with the franchise in which she played from 2013 to 2021 and with which she won the WNBA title in 2014 and in eight chances were selected for the All-Star.
Griner was arrested at a Russian airport in February 2022 and sentenced to nine years in prison in August on drug possession and smuggling charges after being arrested for carrying cartridges of marijuana oil for vaping while trying to catch a plane — that is, to use staff -. US authorities in December announced an agreement with Russian authorities to release her in exchange for arms dealer Víktor Bout.
The detention of Griner, who served 32 years in prison, was made public after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and from the start had political overtones amid Western sanctions. He became something of a hostage to Vladimir Putin’s government. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov have been negotiating the exchange for months. The United States offered to extradite Bout in June, but in return demanded that Russia extradite not only Griner but also Paul Whelan, a security executive at a US company who was sentenced to 16 years in prison in 2020 for espionage and who remains in Russia imprisoned. However, the Kremlin closed the tape and only allowed the athlete to be exchanged for Bout.
Brittney Griner, arriving in San Antonio, Texas last December after being released on a prisoner exchange with Russia. US Army Photo by: Miguel A. Negron (AP)
“It feels so good to be home! The past ten months have been a constant struggle,” Griner said in a statement released upon his return to the United States. The basketball player then assured that her idea was to return to the courts with the Phoenix Mercury. “I also want to be very clear on one thing: I intend to play basketball for the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA this season and I look forward to personally saying ‘thank you’ very soon for standing up for me. They wrote or published for me,” he emphasized.
In 2021, the last season that Griner played in the WNBA, the Phoenix Mercury reached the playoff finals but lost to the Chicago Sky in the title fight.
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