Taurasi reaches multiyear deal to stay in Phoenix

    Mechelle Voepel covers the WNBA, women’s college basketball, and other college sports for espnW. Voepel began covering women’s basketball in 1984, and has been with ESPN since 1996.

Mercury star Diana Taurasi has agreed to return to Phoenix on a multiyear deal, the team announced.

A 16-season veteran, 38-year-old Taurasi is the WNBA’s leading career scorer with 8,931 points and is a three-time league champion.

“WNBA players are more empowered and in control of their careers than ever before, and it is an incredibly important statement that Diana Taurasi has chosen to re-sign with the Mercury once again,” Phoenix general manager Jim Pitman said Monday in a statement. “As I’ve said before, as long as Diana wants to play in the WNBA, we want her in a Mercury uniform. She is the heart of our franchise, the first face on our Mount Rushmore, the best winner and competitor in the women’s game. The trajectory of our organization changed the day we drafted her [in 2004], and we are excited she will be here into the future.”

WNBA free agents officially can begin signing with their teams on Monday, though Sue Bird will have to wait.

The Seattle Storm star is returning to the team, a WNBA source told ESPN, but Bird is not expected to sign Monday as the team works out salary-cap issues. Bird, a four-time WNBA champ who has played 17 seasons and is the league’s career leader in assists (2,888), turned 40 in June.

Among other signings announced on Monday:

  • Bird’s former Storm teammate, forward Alysha Clark, is going to Washington. Clark won two titles with Seattle, where she played for nine seasons.

  • Forward Cheyenne Parker has signed with Atlanta after playing her first six WNBA seasons with Chicago and having career-high averages of 13.4 points and 6.4 rebounds last year.

  • Indiana has signed forward Jantel Lavender, who won a WNBA title with Los Angeles in 2016 and has played nine seasons in the league. Her most recent season was 2019 with Chicago; she did not play last year because of a foot injury.

  • Dallas signed guard Allisha Gray to a multiyear deal, keeping her with the franchise. The Wings drafted her at No. 4, and she was WNBA Rookie of the Year in 2017.

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