Brittney Griner with wife Cherelle. Brittney Griner with wife Cherelle. (Brittney Griner on Instagram.)

WNBA superstar Brittney Griner is home for Christmas after President Joe Biden made the controversial decision last week to trade her for convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout in a prisoner swap with the Russian government.

Griner thanked her supporters in her first public statement since her release. Griner also reaffirmed her desire to play for the Phoenix Mercury in the upcoming WNBA season.

The WNBA, for their part, revealed a major financial commitment to Griner following her release:

“Brittney Griner was credited with a year of service for 2022, per league source; the WNBA already announced she’d be paid her full salary this past summer without it counting against the Mercury’s cap,” Alexa Philippou tweeted. “As it was slated pre-detainment, Griner is technically a free agent heading into the 2023 season, though her statement indicates she wants to sign with Phoenix.”

The WNBA paying Griner’s salary while incarcerated adds roughly $227,000 to her $5 million fortune.

The Russian government originally sentenced Griner to nine years in a maximum-security penal colony for women 200 miles west of Moscow. President Biden faced severe online criticism for leaving former United States Marine Paul Whelan out of the exchange that freed Griner.

Griner is currently relaxing with her wife on a military base outside San Antonio, Texas.