February 2, 2023
Sophie Cunningham is returning to Phoenix on a two-year deal
Restricted free agent guard Sophie Cunningham reportedly will remain with the Phoenix Mercury on a two-year deal
After a career-year in 2022, restricted free agent guard Sophie Cunningham is returning to the Phoenix Mercury on a multi-year deal, the team announced Friday.
The contract is reportedly a two-year deal where Cunningham will make $150,000 the first year and $154,000 the second year.
“Sophie is part of our core, now and for the future,” said Mercury General Manager Jim Pitman in the release. “She has grown every year of her career and took a tremendous step forward as a player last year. The joy in her play, her tenacity on the court, and her love of the Valley and the Mercury organization made re-signing her a priority for us. She’s a fan favorite and she’s loved by teammates, coaches and staff who work with her every day. She will be another important piece this season as we continue to build towards a championship roster.”
While it comes as no surprise that Cunningham, who joined the Suns’ broadcast team and has been posted about numerous times on Mercury social media this offseason, is staying in Phoenix, there was a report on Jan. 30 that she was engaging in talks with the Dallas Wings, Connecticut Sun and Los Angeles Sparks in addition to Phoenix.
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Cunningham has spent all four of her WNBA seasons with the Mercury, but it was in 2022 that she went from bench player to key contributor. In 28 games played (20 starts), she averaged a career-high 12.6 points per game, a career-high 4.4 rebounds per game and a career-high 29.5 minutes per game. She maintained a 40% clip from 3-point range despite shooting over three more (threes) per game in 2022 than in 2021, when she shot a career-high 41% from three.
Cunningham’s breakout 2022 campaign came after a solid performance in the 2021 playoffs. She picked up her scoring average from 5.6 PPG in the regular season to 7.5 PPG in the playoffs en route to the Mercury advancing to the WNBA Finals. The highlight of her 2021 playoffs was when she hit a game-high six 3-pointers to go along with 21 points to help the Mercury advance to the second round with an 83-82 victory over the New York Liberty.
Cunningham is now the fifth player on the Mercury roster. She joins Diamond DeShields, Brianna Turner, Skyler Diggins-Smith and Sam Thomas, who re-joined the team on a training camp contract earlier this week.
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