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Diana Taurasi returns to Mercury for 19th season on multi-year contract

There's no retirement in Diana Taurasi's near future as she's returning to the Phoenix Mercury. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
There's no retirement in Diana Taurasi's near future as she's returning to the Phoenix Mercury. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Diana Taurasi is heading back to the Phoenix Mercury for her 19th season on a multi-year deal, the team announced Saturday.

The three-time WNBA champion averaged 16.7 points, 3.8 assists and 3.4 rebounds last season. At 40 years old, Taurasi has the most All-WNBA First Team selections in history (10).

The new deal is reportedly a two-year, supermax contract at $234,936 per year, according to Her Hoop Stats' Richard Cohen.

"Diana Taurasi belongs in a Mercury uniform, and we are grateful for the continued faith she demonstrates in our organization by returning year after year," Mercury GM Jim Pitman said in a statement. "We look forward to more accolades, more historic moments, and more wins."

The deal would take her through the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“It’s something that is on my radar,” Taurasi said earlier this month of what would be her sixth Olympic appearance. “I’m still competitive, still driven, still want to play. I still love being a part of USA Basketball.”

Taurasi was the No. 1 overall pick in 2004 out of UConn. She and recently retired Seattle Storm legend Sue Bird played together as Huskies. The two were side-by-side for more than two decades, helping the U.S. Olympic women's basketball team win five gold medals together after their college careers. With a win in Paris next summer, Taurasi could break her gold medal tie with Bird.

The star made it clear before last season she would be playing for "a while longer." She added that when she's ready to call it a career, we'll know.

“I’ll let you guys know when I’m done because you’re not gonna see me anymore,” Taurasi said on Wednesday, via ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss. “When I’m done playing, I’m just going to stop playing. I’m not going to ease my way out.

The veteran missed the latter part of last season with a quad strain, an injury that led her to think more about her future.

"When the season ends, I'll be a free agent and I'll see what's best for me," Taurasi said in July, via ESPN. "I don't know what that is right now. It's always something that as you get older as an athlete, you start thinking about."

Part of signing with the Mercury again means that Taurasi will reunite with her longtime teammate and friend, Brittney Griner, who was freed after spending 10 months in a Russian prison last year. Griner has vowed to return to play again in 2023.