Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi will not play during the 2015 WNBA season, the team announced on Tuesday.
Taurasi accepted an offer from her Russian league team, UMMC Ekaterinburg, to sit out the WNBA season and be paid to rest over the summer.
The 32-year-old wrote an open letter to Mercury fans, explaining her decision and telling them she will see them in 2016. From the letter:
The year-round nature of women's basketball takes its toll and the financial opportunity with my team in Russia would have been irresponsible to turn down. They offered to pay me to rest and I've decided to take them up on it. I want to be able to take care of myself and my family when I am done playing.
Taurasi averaged 21.9 points and 5.8 assists last season for Phoenix, who won the 2014 WNBA title. Taurasi has been named an All-Star seven times in her 11-year WNBA career and has won three gold medals with the U.S. in the Olympics.
Taurasi first signed a contract with UMMC in 2012. Like many WNBA players, she has spent her offseasons playing overseas and has won five EuroLeague titles. She is also know for the two plays shown below. - Molly Geary