As the look to stay afloat without star center Brittney Griner, former league MVP Tina Charles played a major role, averaging 17.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game for the team in 2022. Now, after just 16 games, she is no longer with the franchise.
“After discussions with Tina and her agent, it was best for both parties to go our separate ways at this time,” Phoenix GM Jim Pitman said in a statement released Saturday. “Due to circumstances both in and out of our control, our season has not gone according to our plan, and we will continue to pursue all avenues for improvement.”
The Mercury, who won the Western Conference a year ago, are out to a 6–12 start to the 2022 season in Griner’s absence. Griner, a two-time league scoring champion and key member of the 2014 league-champion Mercury, remains in Russian custody in what the U.S. has deemed a wrongful detainment, after officials allegedly found hashish oil in her luggage at the airport in February.
Charles bolstered the lineup alongside fellow stars Skylar Diggins-Smith and Diana Taurasi, but the team has sputtered out to fifth-place in the conference, and have lost three of their last four games.
Now, it appears they will have to move forward without Charles, an eight-time All-Star who has been in the league since 2010.
Time will tell whether she catches on elsewhere down the stretch as she pursues an elusive WNBA title.
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