Tina Charles signs with Seattle Storm after ‘contract divorce’ with Mercury

Basketball player Tina Charles looks to make a pass
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SEATTLE (AP) — The Seattle Storm signed five-time first-team all-WNBA center Tina Charles for the rest of the season on Tuesday, three days after she parted ways with the Phoenix Mercury.

“We are excited to add one of the premier players in our league to our roster,” Storm head coach Noelle Quinn said. “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, 33, was averaging 17.3 points and 7.3 rebounds in 16 games this season with the Mercury before the sides settled on a contract divorce last weekend. She’s expected to make her debut with Seattle on Wednesday night against Las Vegas.

The WNBA’s leading scorer last season with Washington, Charles signed with Phoenix in February, a day after the Mercury added Diamond DeShields in a three-team trade with Chicago and New York. The additions were expected to give the Mercury a huge boost to a roster that already had Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner and Skylar Diggins-Smith.

Griner has been detained in Russia since Feb. 17 after authorities at an airport outside of Moscow said she had vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her bag. And even with the addition of Charles, the Mercury struggled badly.

Charles will become the fourth overall No. 1 pick on the Storm roster along with Sue Bird, Jewell Loyd and Breanna Stewart. The four also played together on the U.S. team that won gold at last year’s Olympics.

Charles averaged a career-high 23.4 points last season with the Mystics. She was the WNBA MVP in 2012.