The team released their 2019 final roster. Who made it?
As all teams released their final roster cuts to get down to 12 players by today, the Phoenix Mercury took the step of getting decidedly younger. The team opted to retain all four of their draftees and cut 10-year veteran Leilani Mitchell.
The team signed the Australian point guard to a multi-year deal just last season. They drafted her out of Utah in the second round of the 2008 draft but traded her to the New York Liberty before the season for a 2009 draft pick. She played for the Mercury in 2016 and 2018, and she seemed to be set to be part of the team this season.
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The Mercury instead went with a combination of veterans and rookies that maintained their core group while also adding fresh blood to the franchise in the form of four newly drafted players. A league source told High Post Hoops that this may not be the final roster, though, as Phoenix could try to bring Mitchell back in ten days under a reworked contract. Of course, that would require waiving one of the players on the opening night roster. According to the High Post Hoops salary database, the Mercury could offer Mitchell approximately $84,000 this season (depending on which non-guaranteed deal they cut to bring her back), though once the season starts, such an offer would be pro-rated.
Unless or until that happens, Phoenix will proceed with a roster of center Brittney Griner, forwards DeWanna Bonner, Camille Little, Sancho Lyttle, Alanna Smith and Brianna Turner, and guards Diana Taurasi, Essence Carson, Arica Carter, Sophie Cunningham, Briann January and Yvonne Turner. Smith, Turner, Carter and Cunningham are all rookies taken in last month’s draft.
The Mercury will open play on Saturday, May 25 against the Seattle Storm in a nationally televised game. Tip-off is scheduled for 3:30 ET on ABC. They will hold their home opener on May 31 when they face off against Liz Cambage, A’ja Wilson and the number one overall pick Jackie Young. That game will be televised on ESPN2 beginning at 10 p.m. ET.
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