The Seattle Storm made a big move today, announcing the signing of free agent center Tina Charles just days after she parted ways with the Phoenix Mercury. Charles signed a rest-of-season contract.
Just 18 games into the season, Charles and the Mercury agreed on a contract divorce.
“Due to circumstances both in and out of our control, our season has not gone according to plan, and we will continue to pursue all avenues for improvement,” Mercury general manager Jim Pitman said in a statement announcing Charles’ contract divorce.
The exact reasoning for Charles departure are unclear at this time, as Mercury coach Vanessa Nagaard declined to go into detail during a pre-game press conference.
“After discussions with Tina and her agent, it was best for both parties to go our separate ways at this time,” Pitman stated in a press release.
The Phoenix Mercury have had a tough going this season after Brittney Griner was arrested at the Moscow airport and wrongfully detained in Russia. The Mercury are 8-12 as Griner’s absence has overshadowed the Mercury.
According to ESPN sources, Charles was expected to be given a more active role on the court with Griner’s absence but she has felt like she wasn’t given the opportunity. The Seattle Storm will put her to good use as they climb up the standings and are hopeful of a successful post-season.
With this addition to the roster, the Storm will officially have four former No. 1 overall draft picks in the lineup — Sue Bird (2002), Charles (2010), Jewell Loyd (2015) and Breanna Stewart (2016). The starting lineup could potentially be stacked considering Charles will be available to play June 29 against the Las Vegas Aces.
“We are excited to add one of the premier players in our league to our roster,” Storm head coach Noelle Quinn said in a statement regarding the signing of Charles. “Tina is a prolific scorer who brings veteran experience and adds depth to our front court. We look forward to seeing the immediate impact she can make for our team.”
Charles averaged 17.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 0.8 blocks in her last 16 games with the Mercury this year. Over her career she has averaged 18.5 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists. In addition, she has averaged a 44.9% field goal average and obtained 33.2% from beyond the arc and is ranked second all-time in 20+ point games with 164.
The 22-year-old center was the 2012 WNBA MVP, eight time all-star, three time Olympic gold medalist and is ranked sixth in WNBA all-time scoring (6,889). In addition, Charles has lead the WNBA in scoring during the 2016 season and 2021 season.
Charles will be reunited with her U.S. Olympic gold medalist teammates — Bird, Stewart and Loyd. The star trio dominated in the 2020 Tokyo Games bringing home a gold medal for Team U.S.A.
The Seattle Storm (11-7) will take on the Las Vegas Aces (14-4) June 29, at 7 p.m. at the Climate Pledge Arena.