The Phoenix Mercury didn't have a good 2023 season. The team finished last in the WNBA with a 9-31 record and missed the playoffs for the first time in a decade.
But that doesn't mean the team's two biggest stars are ready to go their separate ways. Mercury guard Diana Taurasi and center Brittney Griner both said they'd like to return to Phoenix in 2024.
"I've got another year on my contract and I'm definitely going to fulfill that," Taurasi, 41, said Monday. "I'm excited with what we'll be able to do in free agency and having some salary cap space to make some moves."
"Phoenix is home," Griner, 33, added. "Me and my wife literally just got a place [here]. This is it."
The duo played their 10th season together in 2023. Taurasi signed a two-year deal to stay with the Mercury for her 19th season, while Griner returned to the WNBA this year after she spent 10 months detained in Russia and missed the entire 2022 season.
But nothing really went right for Phoenix this year. The Mercury fired head coach Vanessa Nygaard after a 2-10 start and finished the year with 11 consecutive losses.
Taurasi missed 14 games with various injuries but averaged 16 points, 4.6 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game. She also became the first WNBA player to score 10,000 career points. Griner had a good season statistically, too, with a team-high 17.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. No other Mercury player averaged more than 12 points per game. Guards Sophie Cunningham and Moriah Jefferson were the only other Mercury players to average more than 10 points per game.
Despite the poor season for the team, Griner took a more positive tone about her future.
"It's not good being at the end of the standings," she said, "but it's better than where I was a year ago."
What's next for the Mercury? As Taurasi alluded to earlier, the hope is that new general manager Nick U'Ren — who was hired from the Golden State Warriors' front office in July — can rebuild the roster for a team that made the playoffs for the past 10 seasons. Taurasi is under contract for another year, while Griner would need to sign a new deal to come back to the team. Interim head coach Nikki Blue is also a candidate to return as the full-time coach, per U'Ren.
The future of guard Skylar Diggins-Smith will be a big one. She played with the Mercury from 2020-22 but has been away from the team on maternity leave all season. Taurasi refused to answer a question about Diggins-Smith, while U'Ren said he was going to touch base with her agent early in the offseason.
The 2024 offseason will be a big one for the Mercury.