After almost a year imprisoned in Russia, Brittney Griner will return to play in the WNBA and will do so with her team, the Phoenix Mercury, with whom she has reached an agreement for one season.
The news of Griner's return to basketball was announced on Saturday by the specialized portal
Her Hoop Stats
and later also confirmed by ESPN.
Griner, 32 years old and 2.06 meters tall, will earn $165,100 this course to return to competing with the franchise in which she played from 2013 to 2021 and with which she won the WNBA title in 2014, in addition to being chosen in eight chances for the All-Star.
Arrested in February 2022 at a Russian airport, Griner was sentenced in August to nine years in prison for drug possession and smuggling after being arrested for carrying cartridges with marijuana oil to vape when she was going to catch a plane — that is,
US authorities announced in December an agreement with Russian authorities to free her from her in exchange for arms dealer Víktor Bout.
The detention of Griner, who served 32 years while in prison, was made public after the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and had political overtones from the start, amid Western sanctions.
He became a kind of hostage to the government of Vladimir Putin.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spent months negotiating the exchange.
The United States offered to hand over Bout in June, but asked in return that Russia hand over not only Griner but also Paul Whelan, a security executive for a US company who was sentenced to 16 years in prison in 2020 on charges of espionage and who continues to imprisoned in Russia.
However, the Kremlin closed the band and only admitted the exchange of the athlete for Bout.
Brittney Griner, last December upon her arrival in San Antonio, Texas, following her release in a prisoner exchange with Russia.US Army Photo by: Miguel A. Negron (AP)
“It feels so good to be home!
The last ten months have been a constant battle,” 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 make one thing very clear: I intend to play basketball for the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA this season and, in doing so, I am looking forward to saying 'thank you' in person and soon to those of you who stood up for me. , you wrote or published for me ”, he pointed out.
In 2021, the last season Griner played in the WNBA, the Phoenix Mercury reached the playoff
, but lost in the title fight to the Chicago Sky.
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