Diana Taurasi Re-Ups With Phoenix, Says She'll Play in 2011
Taurasi may still take time off down the road, but her base of operation will remain with the defending champion Phoenix Mercury, as she signed a multi-year contract extension with the team Monday. Taurasi declined to talk about the contracts details, according to The Arizona Republic.
"It was never a question of whether I was going to stay in Phoenix or not," said Taurasi following practice Monday. "I've lasted pretty much this entire decade and I plan on being here a long time. That was no surprise to anyone in house."
Taurasi, the league's leading scorer this year (22.6 points per game) battled through injuries and hinted that she would at some point skip a WNBA season in a calendar that sees her play in Russia for a reported $500,000 during the winter and in the WNBA in the summer for around $100,000.
Add those slates to playing for USA Basketball in either the World Championships, as she will do next month, or the Olympics, and you get a taxing schedule.
"I'm going to eventually need to take some time off to rest," Taurasi, 28, told FanHouse in June. "That's just to rest my body. That's a physical thing I have to do. When that time comes and I have to make the decision, I'll make it."
However, Taurasi, a seven-year WNBA veteran, told The Arizona Republic Monday that she would play all of next season for Phoenix, which opens defense of its title Thursday against San Antonio.
And she agreed to take a lesser salary to help the Mercury get under the salary cap enough to go after free agents, as her teammate Penny Taylor did before this season.
"Our salary cap isn't the most flexible, so I think wherever you can get a little bit more room to make some moves in the offseason, it helps the team out a lot," Taurasi told the Republic. "Penny (Taylor) did it last year when she took less to keep some people in town. I think when you want to build a really great team, you have to sacrifice some things. And to me, (money) is the least of my concerns.
"To me, winning is more important than having a huge contract."
In a similar development, the Indiana Fever, the team that narrowly lost to Phoenix in last year's Finals, announced that it had signed 10-year veteran center Tammy Sutton-Brown to a contract extension.
Sutton-Brown, a 6-foot-5 Toronto native, is one of five WNBA players to score 3,000 points, pull down 1,500 rebounds and block 400 shots for a career. She averaged 8.1 points and 5.1 rebounds, as well as 1.6 blocks – good for third in the league.