The Seattle Storm have officially finalized a deal with Tina Charles to add to their playoff push in the second half of the season. Charles agreed to a “contract divorce” from the Phoenix Mercury, and they must buy out her one-year contract.
With Mercury star center Brittney Griner still detained in Russia for alleged cannabis possession back on February 17, and their 6-12 record at the time of Charles’ departure, Phoenix has quite a lot to deal with. Some fans were disappointed by the 2012 WNBA MVP’s decision and took to the comment sections on Instagram and Facebook to express their opinions.
Other fans are excited and happy with Charles’ decision overall.
Charles, 33, becomes the fourth University of Connecticut (UConn) alumni on the Storm roster. She’ll play alongside former Lady Huskies Sue Bird, Breanna Stewart and Gabby Williams.
The 6-foot-3 center also becomes the fourth No. 1 WNBA draft pick to join the squad. She was drafted first overall back in 2010. The others are guard Bird (2002), guard Jewell Loyd (2015) and forward Stewart (2016).
Joining a highly acclimated Storm roster, the addition of Charles is significant to the goal of bringing another title back to Seattle. With Bird announcing her plans to retire at the end of this season back on June 16, there is nothing more the Storm organization and fans could want to cap off Bird’s remarkable career.
Charles herself is in pursuit of a ring, and it seems to be the reason why she’s changed teams so many times. Although being an eight-time WNBA All-Star, five-time All-WNBA First Team and three-time Olympic gold medalist, she has never won a WNBA Championship title.
Seattle becomes the fifth organization Charles has been a part of over the course of her 12 season career. She was a part of the Connecticut Sun, New York Liberty, Washington Mystics and Mercury.
In a news conference on Tuesday, Charles explained her decision.
“I have a small window, and there’s a way I want to play with the time I have left,” she said. “There’s a way I want to be coached. Knowing about the culture here, having a good relationship with Sue (Bird), it made it really easy when looking at the window and being at the halfway mark of the season. It just made sense for me.
“It was extremely hard because the decision that I made didn’t just impact my life but it impacted those in Phoenix. It’s something that I think about all the time, but at some point you do what’s best for your life and your career.”
The only question remains is if Charles will be a good fit for Seattle or not. Two 2022 WNBA All-Star starters and one reserve are already in the starting lineup already for the Storm. Stewart is co-captaining one of the teams with Las Vegas Aces’ star A’ja Wilson, and Bird is the other starter. Loyd was named a reserve. Considering her history in the league, she is one to disrupt team chemistry if things aren’t going her way.
It’ll be interesting to see how the rest of the season pans out for both the Storm and the Mercury.