PHOENIX MERCURY

Storm C Tina Charles: ‘I didn’t go into the season thinking I would switch teams’

Jun 29, 2022, 1:00 PM | Updated: 2:00 pm
Phoenix Mercury center Tina Charles (31) shoots from between Dallas Wings' Allisha Gray (15) and Ka...

Phoenix Mercury center Tina Charles (31) shoots from between Dallas Wings' Allisha Gray (15) and Kayla Thornton (6) during the second half of a WNBA basketball game Friday, June 17, 2022, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Going into the 2022 season, the Phoenix Mercury had title aspirations with the signing of former New York Liberty center Tina Charles.

However, after only 18 games into the season, Charles unexpectedly agreed to a “contract divorce” with the team last Saturday, leading her to sign with the Seattle Storm.

The Mercury went 6-12 with Charles on the team.

“I didn’t go into the season thinking I would switch teams,” Charles told reporters Tuesday in her first public comments since the departure from Phoenix.

The former Mercury center is in the midst of her 12th season in the league. She was the No. 1 overall pick in 2010 and finished as the league’s MVP in 2012.

During her 16 games with the Mercury, Charles averaged 17.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, her second-lowest point and rebound totals in her career.

“I have a small window and there’s a way that I want to play and with the time I have left playing, there’s a way I want to be coached,” Charles said.

With Brittney Griner still detained in Russia, the Mercury will now be even more shorthanded for the remainder of the season with Charles leaving for Seattle.

“The decision I made didn’t just impact my life but it impacted those in Phoenix and it’s something I think about all the time,” Charles said.

While this was a difficult transition for the Mercury, Charles felt she had support from at least one of her former teammates.

“I still had the support of Diana (Taurasi) and that’s what’s meant the world to me because of what she has done for my career,” Charles said.

Since the departure of Charles, the Mercury have won two consecutive games against the Dallas Wings and Indiana Fever.

The Mercury will host the Storm on July 22 in what should be a highly anticipated matchup between Charles’ current and former teams.

With half of the season in the books, the Mercury find themselves in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in a decade.

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