This isn’t a good sign for the league. At all.
News came down the pipeline today via an official press release that Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi has opted to rest her body and sit OUT of the upcoming 2015 season. The reigning WNBA Finals MVP made this decision at the request of her Russian team, UMMC Ekaterinburg, who made her an offer that will pay her more than her WNBA salary. What’s the difference you may ask? Well, last year, she made just under the league max of $107,000, while her contract with UMMC is close to $1.5 million this winter, 15x more than what she makes here in the states. She does plan on returning for the 2016 season, and will compete with Team USA in the 2016 Olympic games in Brazil. As one can imagine, this decision was a very difficult one to make as she explains in a heartfelt letter to her fans:
This is definitely not a good look as the Mercury look to defend their WNBA title this upcoming season. With such a huge piece to their puzzle and the veteran leadership gone, we’ll have to wait and see how the team and coaching staff fill in the void and compete at a high level. We’ll keep you all posted with any new developments.