Diana Taurasi re-signs to a multi-year contract with Mercury

Diana Taurasi has re-signed with Phoenix Mercury and agreed to a multi-year deal, the team announced on Saturday.

The WNBA’s all-time top scorer has only played with the Mercury since he was drafted No. 1 by the team in 2004.

“Diana Taurasi belongs in a Mercury uniform, and we are grateful for the continued confidence she is demonstrating in our organization by returning year after year,” said Jim Pitman, Mercury general manager. β€œThe way she prepares her body, how much she cares about winning, and how much she cares about our franchise β€” on and off the court β€” are just a few of the things that make her a transcendent athlete and literally to make the greatest of all time. We look forward to more awards, more historic moments and more victories.”

Signing a multi-year deal keeps the door open for Taurasi to compete in the 2024 Olympics. Taurasi told The Associated Press earlier this month while attending a basketball training camp in the United States that she had her eyes set on the Paris Games, by which time she would be 42.

“I’m still competitive, still motivated, still want to play, I still love being a part of USA basketball,” she said. “When the opportunity comes up to play and be a part of it, I’ve always been very proud of it. If you get to be my age at this point in my career, just try to win every day. Right now this is a good opportunity to be part of this team and we’ll see what happens.”

If she competed in those Olympics, she could potentially win a sixth gold medal, breaking a tie with former US teammate Sue Bird for the most all-time in the sport.

Taurasi, 40, has won three WNBA titles in Phoenix and was honored as the league’s MVP in 2009. She has averaged 16.2 points, 3.9 assists, and 3.4 rebounds in her career. Last season, she averaged 23.2 points after the All-Star break before her season was cut short by a quad injury.

She holds the franchise record in 16 categories and, with a career-high 9,693 points, should break the 10,000-point mark next season if she stays healthy.

Taurasi was an unrestricted free agent but was expected to return to Phoenix. The Mercury has yet to re-sign Brittney Griner, who is also a free agent. The 6-foot-9 center announced in December, upon returning home from her 10-month ordeal in Russia, that she plans to stay with Phoenix and play with the Mercury.

Reporting by The Associated Press.

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