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As expected, nine-time All-Star Brittney Griner has re-signed with the Phoenix Mercury, the league announced Friday. Griner was originally drafted by the Mercury with the No. 1 overall pick in 2013, and the deal will keep her with the only franchise she has ever known. 

Griner made an emotional return last season after missing all of 2022 while she was wrongfully detained in Russia on drug charges. All told, she spent nearly 10 months in Russian custody before she was released via a prisoner swap in December of 2022, and it was unclear when or if she would play basketball again. Early on, though, she made it clear she wanted to get back on the court as soon as possible. 

In her first game back in Phoenix, Griner picked up right where she left off and put up 27 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks. That was the beginning of an impressive season in which Griner averaged 17.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game, while shooting 56% from the field. She finished second in the league in field goal percentage and third in blocks, and was named an All-Star starter. Griner's ninth trip to the mid-season showcase moved her into a tie for the fourth-most appearances of all-time. 

Off the court, Griner was honored for her work in the community, both in Phoenix and at-large, with the WNBA's season-long Community Assist Award. Griner assisted Bring Our Families Home, a group that works to assist Americans who are wrongly detained overseas, and once again led the BG Heart & Sole Shoe Drive, which collects shoes and other essential items for homeless people. 

Re-signing Griner is the culmination of a terrific offseason for the Mercury, who have also pulled off a blockbuster trade for three-time All-Star Kahleah Copper, acquired versatile forward Rebecca Allen and signed elite perimeter defender Natasha Cloud. 

Those additions should help the Mercury get back on track. Aside from Griner's return, 2023 was largely a disaster for the proud franchise. They finished in last place at 9-31 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2012, ending the longest active streak in the league. If Griner and Co. aren't back in the playoffs this summer, that would be a major surprise.