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Diana Taurasi won’t take less money to build contender in Phoenix

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - JUNE 27: Diana Taurasi #3 of the Phoenix Mercury handles the ball during the second half of the WNBA game at Footprint Center on June 27, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Mercury defeated the Fever 83-71. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The new era of WNBA superteams sees stars taking less money in order to sign other top players.

That’s not in the cards for Diana Taurasi.

“I’m not one to take less money. I don’t know about you guys,” she said during a press conference Tuesday.

The 18-year WNBA veteran said she plans to resign with the Phoenix Mercury – the team that drafted her first overall in 2004 – but that discussions are ongoing.

“As a franchise, we’re in an interesting position right now with a lot of different things going on from ownership to all the way down,” she said. “So, I just think it’s something that’s taking its time and hopefully it’ll be resolved on my end and sooner than later.”

Taurasi is in Minneapolis for a Team USA training camp, and though she is a free agent, the 40-year-old is hoping to stay with her current team. Still, she said, “Anything can happen.”

Just look at the recent signings of top free agents Breanna Stewart and Candace Parker. Stewart had played her entire career in Seattle before making the decision to sign with the Liberty. But in order to make the deal, Stewart took a pay cut so the Liberty would have room for the contracts of Jonquel Jones, Sabrina Ionescu, Courtney Vandersloot and Betnijah Laney.

Parker also took a pay cut. She was making an average of $192,500 over the last two seasons with the Chicago Sky but reportedly signed a one-year deal worth $100,000 to play with the Las Vegas Aces this year.

Despite the pay cut, the Aces are under investigation for “circumventing the salary cap,” which is currently set at $1.42 million. It’s the second investigation Las Vegas finds itself in after trading Dearica Hamby, who claimed they did so because she is pregnant.

Meanwhile, Taurasi hopes to keep the same salary she had last season, when she was making $228,094, the highest mark on the Mercury roster. Skylar Diggins-Smith and Brittney Griner were both under contracts worth $227,900 per year.

Diggins-Smith is set to make $234,350 this season, while Griner, who is technically a free agent, will need to sign a new contract. She is working her way back from the trauma of her wrongful detainment in Russia but has said she plans to play this season.