Taurasi staying in Phoenix on multi-year deal
Diana Taurasi has re-signed with the Phoenix Mercury, agreeing to a multi-year contract, the team announced Saturday.
The WNBA’s all-time leading scorer has only played with the Mercury since being drafted No. 1 by the team in 2004.
“Diana Taurasi belongs in a Mercury uniform, and we are grateful for the continued faith she demonstrates in our organization by returning year after year,” Mercury general manager Jim Pitman said. “The way she prepares her body, how much she cares about winning, and how much she cares about our franchise — on and off the court — are just a few of the things that make her a transcendent athlete and quite literally the greatest of all time. We look forward to more accolades, more historic moments, and more wins.”
Signing a multi-year contract keeps the door open for Taurasi to play in the 2024 Olympics. Taurasi told The Associated Press earlier this month while participating in a USA Basketball training camp that she had her eyes on the Paris Games, which she’d be 42 years old at.
“I’m still competitive, still driven, still want to play, I still love being a part of USA Basketball,” she said. “If the opportunity comes to play and be a part of it, it’s something I’ve always taken a lot of pride in. When you get to my age at this point in my career, you just try to win every day. Right now this is a good opportunity to be part of this team moving forward we’ll see what happens.”
If she were to play in those Olympics she could potentially win a sixth gold medal, breaking a tie with former U.S. teammate Sue Bird for most all-time in the sport.
The 40-year-old Taurasi has won three WNBA titles in Phoenix and been honored as the league’s MVP in 2009. She’s averaged 16.2 points, 3.9 assists and 3.4 rebounds in her career. Last season she was averaging 23.2 points after the All-Star break before having her season cut short by a quad injury.
She holds the franchise record in 16 categories and with 9,693 points in her career should go over the 10,000-point mark next season if she stays healthy.
Taurasi was an unrestricted free agent, but it was expected that she’d go back to Phoenix. The Mercury still need to re-sign Brittney Griner, who is also a free agent. The 6-foot-9 center announced in December when she returned home from her 10-month ordeal in Russia that she planned to remain with Phoenix and play with the Mercury.