Superteams are having a troublesome go of it in 2022. Tina Charles’ “contract divorce” with the Phoenix Mercury was the kind of clear, drama-free breakaway from an underwhelming superteam Kyrie Irving might solely dream of. Charles, 34, is on the tail finish of her prime and reportedly upset along with her position on the Mercury, so the staff determined to grant her a clear launch. Reportedly, Charles will signal with the Seattle Storm as soon as she clears waivers.
The official line from Charles’ camp is that Charles was sad along with her utilization in Phoenix. Nonetheless, that seems to be extra like a smokescreen for her want to play on a contender. This season, Charles is averaging 17.3 factors on 53.0 p.c true capturing, 7.3 rebounds and utilizing 25.9 p.c of the staff’s possessions.
She ranks eighth within the WNBA in utilization charge and ninth in factors whereas sharing the court docket with Diana Taurasi and Skylar Diggins-Smith. Charles was the scoring champ in 2021 on a Mystics staff that missed Elena Della Donne for all however three video games.
After spurning the Storm to signal with the Mercury in February, Charles’ 2022 season shortly turned a mirror of 2021, when Brittney Griner was imprisoned in Russia. Charles was a legal responsibility on protection and with out Griner within the paint, the Mercury struggled to compensate.
The Mercury, as one would anticipate, aren’t completely happy about Charles leaping ship. Through the Mercury’s 83-72 win over the Dallas Wings on Saturday, guard Sophie Cunningham eloquently laid out the staff’s emotions towards their former teammate.
The frustration from Phoenix is comprehensible. After signing Charles, Phoenix had arguably probably the most full staff within the WNBA. As a substitute, the 7-12 Mercury have been put via the wringer. Arguably their finest participant has been imprisoned in Russia for months and there seems to be no quick launch for her in sight. Griner’s imprisonment and the negotiations surrounding her launch within the wake of the Russia-Ukraine warfare have weighed closely on the WNBA, however particularly on the shoulders of the staff that she has spent her whole profession on.
We noticed cracks within the facade when Diggins-Smith and Taurasi obtained right into a screaming match on the sidelines in mid-Might throughout the first half towards Las Vegas. The Mercury might nonetheless rally behind the items they do need to make a playoff push, nevertheless, their practical championship aspirations are seemingly kaput.
Then again, Charles’s addition to Seattle elevates the Storm into the WNBA’s higher echelon. Charles was a title-hunting mercenary on a one-year deal. She’d already achieved every little thing within the WNBA apart from profitable a title. In Seattle, she’ll present an additional scoring punch beside former league MVP Breanna Stewart and Jewell Lloyd. One other former MVP, Sue Hen, continues to be a key distributor who’s pursuing her fifth title to cap off her last season.
The Las Vegas Aces and Chicago Sky appeared poised for a Finals rematch, however Charles’ addition has the potential to place Seattle within the driver’s seat. The Aces have been the frontrunner for many of this season till the Sky caught them sleeping throughout a 28-point comeback. Now each of them need to maintain an eye fixed out for the Storm catching them from behind.