The Reporter (Vacaville)

MLB Griner returns to WNBA, signing deal with Mercury


Brittney Griner will be back in the WNBA this season, once again playing with the Phoenix Mercury.

Griner, who was a free agent, re-signed with the team Tuesday.

The 32-year-old Griner had said she would return to Phoenix in a social media post in December, after she returned home from her 10-month detainment in Russia. Griner had been arrested at an airport just outside of Moscow on drug possession charges a year ago and was brought home in a dramatic highlevel prisoner exchange in December.

“We missed BG every day that she was gone and, while basketball was not our primary concern, her presence on the floor, in our locker room, around our organizati­on, and within our community was greatly missed,” Mercury GM Jim Pitman said. “We will continue to use the resources of our organizati­on to support her, on and off the floor, and we are thrilled for her that she gets to return to basketball, which she loves so dearly. This is a special signing and today is a special day for all of us.”

The 6-foot-9 center last played for the Mercury in 2021 and helped the team reach the WNBA Finals. She averaged 20.5 points and 9.5 rebounds that season.

CHAPMAN CAN EARN UP TO $8.75M IF HE REBOUNDS WITH ROYALS >> Aroldis Chapman can earn up to $8.75 million as part of his one-year contract with the Kansas City Royals if he regains a job as a regular closer.

The left-hander, who turns 35 on Feb. 28, is guaranteed $3.75 million under the deal announced Jan. 27.

Chapman can earn $2.5 million in performanc­e bonuses based on games: $312,500 for 20 and for each additional five through 55. He also can earn $2.5 million based on games finished: $312,500 for 12 and for each additional four through 40.

He averaged 100.7 mph on his fastball in 2016 but dropped below 100 mph in 2018 and was at a careerlow 97.5 last season. He was 4-4 with a 4.46 ERA last season for the Yankees, walking 28 and striking out 43 in 36 1/3 innings.


NETS GIVE COACH JACQUE VAUGHN MULTIYEAR CONTRACT EXTENSION >> Jacque Vaughn, who has coached the Brooklyn Nets into playoff position despite the trades of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving during another turbulent season for the franchise, has agreed to a multiyear contract extension.

Vaughn replaced Steve Nash early in the season and the Nets announced Tuesday they were extending his deal. Terms were not disclosed, though general manager Sean Marks said the Nets looked forward to Vaughn leading the team “for years to come.”

“Jacque has made an immediate and immeasurab­le impact on our entire organizati­on since assuming the role of head coach earlier this season,” Marks said in a news release.

The Nets (34-24) are fifth in the Eastern Conference and have gone 32-19 under Vaughn, the fifth-best record in the league. HAWKS FIRE MCMILLAN >> The Atlanta Hawks fired coach Nate McMillan, who was unable to follow up on the success of leading the team to the 2021 Eastern Conference finals.

The Hawks are 29-30 and in eighth place in the East this season.

Assistant coach Joe Prunty will serve as interim coach. Prunty joined the Hawks in July 2021 as lead assistant.

The 58-year-old McMillan went 99-80 as Atlanta's coach, including a 2711 record as interim in the second half of the 2020-21 season. His success that season earned him the fulltime position.

 ?? CHRISTIAN PETERSEN — GETTY IMAGES ?? Brittney Griner, who spent nearly 300days in custody in Russia, has signed a one-year dean with the Phoenix Mercury.
CHRISTIAN PETERSEN — GETTY IMAGES Brittney Griner, who spent nearly 300days in custody in Russia, has signed a one-year dean with the Phoenix Mercury.

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