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Why is Brittney Griner in Russia anyway? Because the NBA isn't doing enough financially to help the WNBA.

Griner and other WNBA players are forced to play overseas to maximize their value. (Author: Gardener)

Brittney GrinerBrittney Griner was escorted into a courtroom in Russia on Friday for her drug-related trial. These are just some of the feelings evoked at the thought of WNBA star Brittney Griner's incarceration after seeing pictures of her handcuffed in a Russian courtroom on Friday, early in her trial on spurious drug charges. One of the queens of American women's basketball is a geopolitical pawn in the icy relations between the United States and Russia. Griner could be on a WNBA court rather than the kangaroo of a foreign power if the wage gap between female basketball players and their male counterparts were not as wide as the political divide in America The Polarized. That pay gap is why Griner, a seven-time WNBA All-Star, two-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, and two-time WNBA Scoring Champion, took first place in Russia. Griner made $1 million to $1.5 million playing for oligarch-funded UMMC Ekaterinburg, a superpower that has long spent the highest dollar on the world's top female players. The WNBA's meager pay has pushed Griner into the Russian crosshairs. No one expects WNBA players to do the same as their NBA counterparts. However, sports and leagues offer value beyond their balance sheet, especially when they symbolize opportunity and equality. If we say that we value them as a society, then we have to ask more of the NBA compared to the WNBA. The value of each unit cannot be measured only in money. You can't put a price on the dreams of millions of girls or one woman's freedom. While Griner's safety and freedom are paramount, her ordeal has shed light on the plight of professional women basketball players. WNBA players are forced to play overseas to maximize their value. You cannot bet money from the league. The WNBA salary cap is $1.4 million per team. The minimum salary for an NBA player with one year of experience is expected to be $1.637 million. The league minimum is around $60,000, or what an NBA player would leave in the glove box of his Bentley. There are marketing deals, bonuses, and the Commissioner's Cup competition that can increase compensation, but it's not enough to turn down the money great ballerinas can make overseas. There is a money gap between the NBA and the WNBA. Two-time reigning MVP Nikola Jokić has just agreed to the most lucrative contract in NBA history, a five-year, $270 million supermax extension that will take his salary to $303 million over the next six seasons. You can't convince me that the league can't afford to spend more money to maintain and subsidize the WNBA given what it stands for 50 years after Title IX? It doesn't take an economist Adam Smith to understand that the leagues are at opposite ends of the economic spectrum from a supply and demand perspective. The WNBA does not make a profit. If profit was the only goal, why did the NBA create the WNBA in the first place? Reigning Connecticut Sun WNBA MVP Jonquel Jones was a teammate of Griner for UMMC Ekaterinburg, which was eliminated from the EuroLeague Women after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Jones told ESPN that she earned what she earned all season in the WNBA in one month. The pay gap is so great that UMMC Ekaterinburg once paid UConn women's basketball legend Diana Taurasi to skip the 2015 WNBA season, which runs in the summer, entirely. Griner's cause was ubiquitous in the WNBA with her initials and jersey number - BG42 - on the courts of all 12 teams and players calling for her release while pressuring President Joe Biden's administration to do more to make that happen . The Associated Press quoted WNBA Players Association President Nneka Ogwumike in an interview with ABC's Good Morning America as saying, WNBA players have complained about things such as being charged for their own upgrades on commercial flights have to pay. Some WNBA owners are willing to raise the bar when it comes to amenities like charter flights, but others have resisted spending more. The New York Liberty was fined $500,000 by the league last season for charter flights. In February, the league conducted a capital increase, raising $75 million from investors who had acquired a stake in the league. WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert is focused on raising the league's profile and cash flow, but without greater financial backing from the NBA, she has a difficult task. The most socially committed of the major sports leagues needs to spend more money on gender equality. Next year, the WNBA will penalize players if they miss the start of training camp or show up after May 1, whichever is later. 2024 players may be banned for the season. It is currently routine for players to be late after securing lucrative foreign contracts. Unfortunately, the NBA and WNBA cannot control the outcome of Griner's case. They cannot improve their conditions in Russia. But they can use their ordeal to inspire improved WNBA working conditions and a women's basketball venue worthy of the world-class athletes on the court.

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As the Celtics reportedly plan to field Malcolm Brogdon

Boston's trade for the combo guard had people wondering if he would become the team's starting point guard. How the Celtics Reportedly Plan to Use Malcolm Brogdon appeared first on Boston.com. (Author: Gardener)

CelticsMalcolm Brogdon won't start the Celtics' offense, at least not in a starting role. The Celtics' reported trade for Malcolm Brogdon helped them fill a pair of their biggest offseason needs. Brogdon has started every game as a point guard since the Pacers took him on in 2019, leaving Friday's trade to wonder if the Celtics would use him in the same role, replacing Marcus Smart, or if they could do something else had him in mind. It appears Smart will still start at point guard for the Celtics. Smart's role as the Celtics' starting point guard was questioned by several analysts after the NBA Finals, in which Boston failed to score 100 points in their last three games. Smart, who only became the team's full-time launch point guard last season, responded to those who doubt he's effective enough to be the team's launch point guard in an interview with The Boston Globe's Adam Himmelsbach. "I think I've proved a little bit of everything," Smart told Himmelsbach on Tuesday. "You need a star point guard." "We had star point guards, and yet this so-called non-point guard is the only one who got them to the finals. With Smart still holding his place as the team's starting point guard, Brogdon seems aware of the role he will play once he arrives in Boston. I'm going to Boston and I'm not worried about [stats].” However, Brogdon did mention in his interview with Weiss that he can help the Celtics as a playmaker. "If I got in there I could give them a stable presence and calm as a ball handler and facilitator and give guys like [Jaylen] Brown and [Jayson] Tatum easy shots," Brogdon said. "Just slowing down the game in the moments when we need to get a good shot." Brogdon is bringing in veteran playmaker and marksman from Celtics president Brad Stevens and head coach Ime Udoka said they wanted to enter the offseason. He averaged 18.9 points and 6.3 assists in 146 games with the Pacers over three seasons as the team's starting point guard. Brogdon didn't shoot as well as he did in Milwaukee in Indiana, where he was the main initiate for the first time in his career. Brogdon shot 48.4 percent from field and 40.8 percent from 3-point range in his three seasons with the Bucks, joining the famous 50/40/90 club in his final season there. At the Pacers, Brogdon shot 44.7 percent from field and 35.2 percent from 3-point range. Boston could be hoping Brogdon's shooting ratings increase as he could play a similar off-ball role with the Celtics as he did with the Bucks. The Celtics' reported decision to bring Brogdon off the bench means they will keep their starting five together, which was arguably the best in the NBA last season. Boston's lineup of Smart, Brown, Tatum, Al Horford and Robert Williams had a net rating of 24.6, which is the best net rating of any starting lineup that played at least 20 games together. That group didn't net as well in the playoffs, earning a 3.5 net rating as Williams, Horford, and Smart each missed time in the postseason. How the Celtics Reportedly Plan to Use Malcolm Brogdon appeared first on Boston.com.

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How Brad Stevens used shrewd planning to trade Malcolm Brogdon and helped Celtics capitalize on this unique opportunity

Over the past decade, a shortage of Celtics has suffered from a lack of moving salaries at some of their best teams. That has stymied potential trading opportunities on many occasions and prevented Boston from adding a player or two that might have leveled a group. Fresh from a trip to the NBA Finals, the current Celtics are making Brad Stevens' priorities relatively easy and... (Author: Gardener)

CelticsThat has stymied potential trading opportunities on many occasions and prevented Boston from adding a player or two that might have leveled a group. With limited free agent resources due to the team's cap situation, the Celtics had to use the trade market to make a bigger showing. A few inconspicuous moves last season helped put Boston in a position to pounce on Brogdon. When the Celtics traded Dennis Schroder, Enes Freedom and Bruno Fernando for Daniel Theis last year, there were a few surprises in the league among the executives I spoke to. Theis appeared to be overpaid on a four-year deal he signed with the Rockets during the offseason, and the Celtics took that extra cash going forward without getting anything candy from the Rockets to help them open the space for to clear future salary caps. While Theis provided good big-man insurance behind Robert Williams in the second half of the season and played an important role as a starter in a first-round sweep over the nets, his greater value was yet to come. The Celtics now had a moveable contract that would help the team adjust the salary for an Impact player without deducting from their core. If the Theis deal didn't go through, that deal wouldn't have happened for Brogdon without one of Boston's top seven players walking out the door to make the money work. The Boston front office cleaned up players on the roster at the trade deadline to add players for two-year contracts and cleaned up the back end of the team roster back in February, opening five spots in the back half of the 15-man roster. The Celtics filled four of those slots with two-year contracts (with options) and a number of those multi-year contracts came into play here. Nik Stauskas, Malik Fitts and Juwan Morgan, in addition to Aaron Nesmith and Theis, provided the additional salary needed to match Brogdon's salary in trading. This type of maneuver would not have been so easy for the Celtics if they had had a string of expiring contracts at the end of their bench, which would have been the case with Fernando, Freedom and Schroder. Brogdon didn't do much to improve its value last year in an injury-plagued year for a Pacers squad that shifted to building up for future mode after the sale of Domantas Sabonis. Brogdon signed an expensive two-year extension before the start of the season and clearly didn't have a ton of commercial value in the league at that price based on the return the Pacers accepted for him on Friday. The Pacers clearly wanted to provide future flexibility with their payroll, and they did so by taking back no more than $10 million in future guaranteed money under the Theis contract. The Pacers probably got better talent offers for Brogdon when they bought him after offers, but they probably weren't the kind of young players they're looking for in a season spent in lottery territory. The Celtics benefited from this unique mix, which they could offer with a first-round pick, a favorable prospect and no big-money contracts. The perfect storm came together for the Celtics to pull off that deal, and Boston's ownership deserves credit for their willingness to accept a bloated Brogdon contract. However, a few basic moves beneath the surface went a long way in allowing Boston to pull through on this deal while keeping its entire rotation intact.

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Why the arrest of Brittney Griner is about a lot more than just Brittney Griner

Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon, a Ph.D. Student, focusing on Russia and the former Soviet Union, discusses Brittney Griner's role as Vladimir Putin's pawn and the added complexities of being a gay black woman in a very rigid Russia under Putin. (Author: Gardener)

Brittney GrinerWhy The Arrest Of Brittney Griner Is About Much More Than Brittney Griner Why The Arrest Of Brittney Griner Is About Much More Than Brittney Griner Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon, Ph.D.

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How Brittney Griner's wife Cherelle tirelessly supports her through her legal ordeal in Russia

No one is more worried about WNBA star Brittney Griner, who is on trial in Russia on drug charges after being jailed since February, than her wife Cherelle Griner. (Author: Gardener)

RussiaGettyIt's no exaggeration when I say that next summer's release of Greta Gerwig's Barbie is about the only thing that gives me the strength to survive at a totally cursed moment in American politics and global health — well, that and my COVID vaccine. The same seems to be true for most of Film Twitter, who can't help but happily share whatever photos (and now videos) they can get their hands on of the movie that's in the making.

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WNBA star Brittney Griner's trial begins in Russia while the US works to secure her release

Brittney Griner appeared in a courtroom outside Moscow on Friday morning on the first day of the WNBA trial in Russia, where she has been in custody for 134 days. (Author: Gardener)

RussiaBrittney Griner appeared in a courtroom in Khimki, a Moscow suburb, on Friday morning on the first day of the WNBA star's trial in Russia, where she has been in custody for 134 days. Griner was arrested at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Russia on February 17 after being accused of carrying vape cartridges containing hash oil, which is illegal in Russia. The first witness at Griner's trial was a customs officer who was at the airport when she was arrested. According to a Russian reporter in the courtroom who spoke to ABC News, Griner said through a translator that she understood the allegation but declined to comment on the charges, saying she would share her thoughts at a later date. S. Embassy and two representatives of Russian and foreign media were admitted into the courtroom. An American reporter in the courtroom who spoke with Griner told ABC News Monday that Griner said she's fine, but misses her ability to exercise like she used to. She also said that since she does not speak Russian, court appointments are difficult for her, but an interpreter was made available to her. Russian Court Extends WNBA Star Brittney Griner's Detention As Griner left the courtroom, she didn't answer ABC News' question when asked how she was doing. The Phoenix-Mercury player is expected to appear in court again on the second day of the trial on July 7. Griner's detention in Russia has been repeatedly extended, most recently to December 20, which is the expected length of her trial. Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury during the first half of game four of the 2021 WNBA Semifinals at the Footprint Center, October 6, 2021, in Phoenix. Before the trial, friends and family members of Griner gathered for a vigil in New York City on Wednesday to honor the imprisoned athlete. "February 17 was the last time I spoke to my sister," said Janell Roy, Griner's childhood friend. According to a report by The Associated Press, on May 3 the S. government reclassified Griner's case as "wrongfully detained" -- meaning the United States will work more aggressively to negotiate her release even if the lawsuit falls against her running, the State Department said. The S. government has determined that Brittney Griner is wrongly imprisoned and being used as a political pawn," Griner's agent Lindsay Kagawa Colas wrote in a series of tweets Monday. "Negotiations for her immediate release should proceed regardless of the court case's top priority, and we expect [President Joe Biden] and [Vice President Kamala Harris] to do everything in their power now to finalize a deal to bring her home." White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters Tuesday that Griner was "wrongly imprisoned" and urged the Russian government to release the American basketball star. S. is "actively" working to secure Griner's release, he added but added that the diplomat's efforts are "sensitive matters". We are trying to find a resolution to this case and will continue to do so until we get Brittney home safely," he said. those being held abroad, whether in Iran or Afghanistan or Russia or Venezuela or China or elsewhere.” Russia's invasion of Ukraine began a week after Griner's arrest by S. Marine veteran Trevor Reed in April, the was freed from a Russian prison as part of a prisoner swap.Former Marine Paul Whelan has also been incarcerated in Russia since 2019. Cherelle Griner, wife of WNBA superstar Brittney Griner, who has been incarcerated in a Russian prison for nearly 100 days, spoke first time in an exclusive interview with Robin Roberts May 24, 2022. Cherelle Griner, wife of WNBA superstar Brittney Griner, who has been in a Russian for nearly 100 days Prison spoke for the first time in an exclusive interview with Robin Roberts, May 24, 2022. Griner's wife, Cherelle Griner, told Good Morning America co-host Robin Roberts in May that she loves working with President Joe Biden would speak. She's a political pawn," she said. When asked about a possible meeting between Cherelle Griner and President Biden last week, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, "We have nothing to share about a possible phone call or meeting. ABC News' Shannon Crawford and Molly Nagle contributed to this report.

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The trial of Mercury star Brittney Griner has begun in Moscow. That's how it works in Russia

The incarceration of Brittney Griner in a Russian prison sent shockwaves around the world. Here's what Russian news agencies say at the start of their trial. (Author: Gardener)

Brittney GrinerIt has been more than four months since Brittney Griner, the two-time Olympic gold medalist and Phoenix Mercury star, was arrested at a Russian airport and held for possession of cannabis oil as she returned to play for a Russian team. Since February she has been in a prison in the Moscow suburb of Khimki, writing letters to other WNBA athletes and keeping in touch with her wife Cherelle Griner through her lawyer. Her trial began on Friday. She is accused of smuggling narcotics or psychotropic substances, which is punishable by six to ten years in prison in Russia. The trial begins: After 4 months in prison, the trial against Griner in Russia begins in July. Russian media coverage of Griner's case looks different than what you saw in U with some insights into how the authors and readers envision an American athlete trapped thousands of miles from her home and team . Headlines from Russian search engine Yandex, in which Kremlin officials claim that Brittney Griner's arrest and subsequent trial were not politically motivated, compiled by Gregory Svirnovskiy. The first line in the image above in bold reads that the Kremlin, the seat of the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin, "does not view the arrest of American basketball player Griner as politically motivated." The website говорит москва, or "Moscow Speaks," which quotes Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov, continues to deny that Griner's arrest had any political aim. She simply broke the law, he said, and will be tried under Russia's criminal code. In this picture, compiled by Gregory Svirnovskiy, Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov appears on the Moscow Speaks news site. "Tell the facts," Peskov said. Peskov told the Russian state news agency TASS that Griner could therefore not be called a hostage. Prosecutor Nikolai Vlasenko said on the first day of the trial that Griner was arrested with 0.56 grams of hash oil when it was massaged in dried form. According to BFM.ru, a top business radio station in Russia, this is "a significant amount". Two witnesses were called by prosecutors on Friday, the outlet reported. Both operated airport security, where Griner was arrested in February. A photo of Brittney Griner in the BFM.ru article, compiled by Gregory Svirnovskiy. Claims that the case was not politically motivated have been disputed by experts and agents in the US. The athlete's agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, tweeted on June 27 that “the US government has determined that Brittney Griner is being wrongly imprisoned and being used as a political pawn. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called her release from Russian custody an "absolute priority" in an interview on CNN's State of the Union on June 26. The State Department officially called Griner "unlawfully detained" back in May, experts speculate that Putin dangles her in an alleged prisoner swap with convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout, nicknamed the “Merchant of Death.” Aggregated news reports on search engine Yandex tell the story of Russian authorities bent on bringing Bout back from an American prison. Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov has confirmed, according to Газета.ru - in English, The Gazette - that Bout's release is a "very high priority" for his government, back in early May when Griner's pre-trial detention was extended until July , news outlets like Sportkp.ru suggested that he still hasn't sentenced e Griner could eventually be exchanged for Bout, citing previous media releases from state officials. In this Sportkp image, compiled by Gregory Svirnovskiy, Brittney Griner is pictured with a roughly translated caption: Court extends arrest of American basketball player Griner whom they want to barter for bout. On May 13, TASS reported that "negotiations were already underway to swap the bout for a griner." S. declined talks between the State Department and the Russian foreign ministry. The Biden administration has not commented on a bout-for-griner swap But Russia's stance leaves the impression that the country's leaders have been looking for an opportunity like this for a long time According to the Associated Press, more than 99% of court cases in Russia end in convictions, and even an acquittal can be reversed at the government's discretion So Brittney Griner has little chance of being released without a conviction. Experts on Russian law have said that it is actually in Griner's best interest to plead guilty, given the high probability of an acquittal and the likelihood that a plea of ​​not guilty followed by a robust defense would likely result in that she will be placed under harsher conditions during the trial - the trial period. Elizabeth Rood, an American diplomat and head of the US Embassy in Russia, attended the first day of the hearing. She later said that the US government is "working hard to allow basketball player Brittney Griner to come home," according to TASS. Quote from Elizabeth Rood in BFM. In a BFM.ru story, Rood is quoted as testifying to the "millions of Americans" who are "concerned about the welfare of citizens who are in prisons outside the United States." It was a rare admission from an outlet recognizing Griner's popularity in her home country and the worldwide attention her case has garnered. Russia's federal sports channel MatchTV focused a story on the pressure Griner's wife Cherelle Griner is putting on the Biden administration. The outlet quoted Cherelle Griner's words on CNN, noting the lack of trust she had in the US government to bring her wife home. 'Unacceptable': WNBA star Brittney Griner's wife is upset the planned anniversary call never materialized. Without their Superstar, the Phoenix Mercury are in the middle of a postseason battle, clinging to the eighth and final playoff spot in the league. On July 6, the Mercury hosts a "Bring BG Home" rally in which U. participates. Gregory Svirnovskiy is fluent in Russian. You can reach him at [email protected] This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Mercury star Brittney Griner's trial has begun in Moscow. That's how it works in Russia

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Things to know about WNBA star Brittney Griner as the Houston native's trial begins

Here's everything you need to know about the ongoing incarceration and trial in Russia of WNBA star and Houston native Brittney Griner, which has garnered global attention. (Author: Gardener)

Brittney GrinerWNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner is escorted to a hearing in Khimki, just outside Moscow, Russia, on Friday, July 1, 2022. Griner was tried in a court in Moscow on Friday. The trial comes about 4 1/2 months after her arrest for cannabis possession at an airport while she was away playing for a Russian team. More than four months after she was arrested at a Moscow airport for cannabis possession, American basketball star Brittney Griner appeared Monday for a preliminary hearing ahead of her trial. WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner is escorted to a hearing in Khimki, just outside Moscow, Russia, on Monday, June 27, 2022. WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner is escorted to a courtroom for a hearing in Khimki, just outside Moscow, Russia, Monday June 27, 2022. The trial, which began on Friday, is taking place about 4 1/2 months held after she was arrested at an airport on cannabis possession charges while traveling to play for a Russian team. In this frame from the video, Cherelle Griner, wife of WNBA star Brittney Griner, speaks to The Associated Press on Monday, June 20, 2022. Brittney Griner tried nearly a dozen times to call her wife through the American Embassy in Russia on the couple's fourth anniversary Saturday, but they never connected because the phone line at the embassy was not busy, Cherelle Griner said Monday. People attend a rally to raise awareness for Brittney Griner outside the Toyota Center on Sunday June 6, 2022. People attend a rally to raise awareness of Brittney Griner outside the Toyota Center on Sunday, June 6, 2022. People take part in a candlelight rally and vigil to raise awareness for Brittney Griner outside the Toyota Center on Sunday June 6, 2022. 2022. People listen to speakers during a rally to raise awareness for Brittney Griner on Sunday, June 6, 2022 outside the Toyota Center. Participants in a Monday protest outside the Toyota Center demanded the release of WNBA player and Houston native Brittney Griner, who is currently jailed in Russia. People watch performers during a rally to raise awareness for Brittney Griner outside the Toyota Center on Sunday, June 6, 2022. PHOENIX, ARIZONA - OCTOBER 06: Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury in the first half of game four of the 2021 WNBA Semifinals at Footprint Center on October 06, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. USA's Brittney Griner (15), center, drives Japan's Maki Takada (8) during the women's basketball gold medal game at the 2020 Summer Olympics on Sunday, August 8, 2021, in Saitama, Japan. The trial of WNBA star Brittney Griner began Friday in a Moscow-area court. The Houston native has been jailed for more than four months after being arrested at an airport for cannabis possession earlier this year. Here's everything you need to know about Griner and the process that has garnered worldwide attention: Griner is one of the most decorated basketball players in the world. The 31-year-old WNBA star is a two-time US Olympic gold medalist who began her career at Nimitz High School in Aldine ISD. FILE - In this July 29, 2016 file photo, USA's Brittney Griner walks onto the court during the first half of a women's exhibition basketball game in Bridgeport, Connecticut. At the time of her arrest, Griner had flown into Russia's Sheremetyevo International Airport from New York to play for Russian team UMMC Yekaterinburg. EXPERTS: WNBA star Brittney Griner's release is still uncertain as her trial begins in a Russian court It is common for players to play abroad for teams owned by Russian oligarchs, where they can earn a much higher salary. Griner earned more than $1 million per season in Russia, or about four times her WNBA salary, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Why was Brittney Griner arrested and jailed? Griner was arrested in February after vape cartridges filled with cannabis oil were allegedly found in her luggage. WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner exits a courtroom after a hearing in Khimki, just outside Moscow, May 13, 2022. The Phoenix Mercury star, considered the most talented female athlete in the United States by some polls, could face 10 years in prison if convicted of large-scale drug trafficking. Who came to Brittney Griner's defense? Griner's wife, Cherelle, has spoken out on social media and to journalists, urging President Joe Biden to secure her release. She says her wife has become a "political pawn" amid rising tensions between Russia and the United States. “I keep hearing that he has the power. She's a political pawn," Griner's wife, Robin Roberts, told ABC's Good Morning America in May. Cherelle Griner, wife of the WNBA star and Houston native Brittney Griner, spoke in a television interview after Russian officials arrested Griner, who has been held for 97 days with no immediate sign of release. The couple's fourth wedding anniversary was June 18. They have not spoken to each other on the phone since Griner's arrest, although the Russian government promised to call on their wedding day. Griner's wife told reporters the phone line at the embassy was not busy. "I find it unacceptable and I have no faith in our government right now," Griner's wife told the Associated Press. The Houston community has also come to their defense. Hundreds rallied outside the Toyota Center last month to demand her release, with performances by U. Participants in a rally outside the Toyota Center on Monday raised their voices in support of WNBA player Brittney Griner, who is currently jailed in Russia. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner also attended the rally and said she "represents what this city is about." Went to the Olympics in 2016 and 2020 and won gold, someone who's been (an All-Star) seven times." Turner said, "The WNBA is here. I just want to join the chorus to say, 'Take Brittney home. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee speaks during a rally to raise awareness for Brittney Griner Sunday, June 6, 2022 outside of the Toyota Center. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee speaks during a rally to raise awareness for Brittney Griner outside of the Toyota Center Sunday, June June 2022. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee speaks during a rally Sunday, June 6, 2022, to raise awareness of Brittney Griner outside of the Toyota Center. / Paul Wall performs during a rally to raise awareness for Brittney Griner outside the Toyota Center Sunday, June 6, 2022. / Paul Wall performs during a rally to raise awareness for Brittney Griner outside the Toyota Center on Sunday, Sharpen June 6, 2022. / Paul Wall performs during a rally to raise awareness for Brittney Griner outside the Toyota Center on Sunday, June 6, 2022. S. and Biden are doing something with Brittney Griner? The US State Department officially ruled that Griner was wrongly imprisoned in May, clearing the way to aggressively seek her release. 'FED ​​UP': Houston-born WNBA star Brittney Griner's wife tells AP a scheduled call never happened, Kagawa Colas said in early May. What happened on the first day of Brittney Griner's trial? Two customs officers who work at the airport testified for the prosecution on Friday, NPR reported. Griner told U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission Elizabeth Rood on Friday that "she's in a good mood and keeps the faith up," Rood said. Aleksandr Boikov, Griner's lawyer, said Monday he expects the trial to take up to two months. "We don't know at this point what evidence they have," Pomeranz told the New York Times. What will become of Brittney Griner? Rumors have been circulating that Griner could be swapped out for other Russians currently in U. I have no higher priority than making sure Americans who are illegally detained in one way or another around the world get home," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told CNN on Sunday. FROM THE EDITOR: Bring Brittney Griner home — and then pay her more than Russia ever could. Griner's detention was extended for another six months to December 20. If convicted, she faces up to 10 years in prison. Despite calls for her release, legal experts expect her trial to end in a conviction. "There's a bias, mainly because the Russian justice system says they really shouldn't go to court unless the accused is convicted," William Pomeranz, acting director of the Kennan Institute and an expert on Russian law, told the New York Times. "There is no real notion or expectation that the accused could be innocent.

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Celtics' Malcolm Brogdon is reaping raves and A's from the NBA media

Brad Stevens is heading for the roll of honor. The Pacers get mostly good reviews too. Here's a pick: ESPN Celtics Grade: A- Synopsis: "The Celtics landing Brogdon weeks after losing the NBA Finals — and doing so without giving up any of their top eight players in the playoff minutes — is... (Author: Gardener)

CelticsCeltics deal for Malcolm Brogdon gets high marks from outlets reviewing trades Synopsis: "For the Celtics to finish Brogdon weeks after losing the NBA Finals - and without giving up any of their top eight players in the playoff minutes - is an incredible result. Later, there are some concerns that Celtics ownership will pull back spending after the excitement of a surprise final run has died down, and the addition of Brogdon will shut out other options for the team - especially if its commercial value suffers in his 30s. Nonetheless, Boston's title window is now open and the addition of Brogdon improves the odds of Boston hanging an 18th banner at TD Garden. Summary: “When the New York Knicks (Jalen Brunson) and Washington Wizards (Monte Morris) filled their need for starting point guards, the market for Brogdon certainly shrank significantly. While this deal doesn't deliver the kind of draft-pick compensation the Pacers were probably hoping for, I understand Brogdon gets value while he's around. Synopsis: “To ensure their final run was no fluke and that a lack of playmaking wouldn't bite them again when it came down to it, the Celtics bought Malcolm Brogdon, the best point guard rumored to be on the commercial market. It's an ideal addition for a team that wanted more offensive power without having to sacrifice anything defensively (their great strength and fundamental identity)." Summary: "The fact that the Celtics, with Brogdon, 29, and Gallinari, 33 , adding two proven veterans without having to part with any of their core pieces is a major coup for them. This is one of those deals that makes sense for both teams and that both sides could feel good about. The Celtics can bolster their roster, which is now clearly focused on winning, while the Pacers add a valuable advantage as they seek to re-establish themselves as a contender in the Eastern Conference. That move is a no-brainer for the Celtics, who are getting a legitimate playoff rotation piece in exchange for proverbial pennies at Brogdon. They won't miss any of the players they traded, and while no team likes to part with first-round picks, these are the types of moves competing teams need to make to improve. It's not like there's going to be too much selection anyway.” They're not positioned to really compete the way they're set up right now, so they're getting a first-round player back in exchange for a veteran player who probably doesn't long-term future with the franchise. Summary: In his three seasons with the Indiana Pacers, Brogdon averaged 6.3 assists and 1.9 threes while shooting 35.2 percent from threes. He has averaged fewer than 50 games per season with Indiana. But for two fringe players, three wild cards and a first-round pick that's in the 20s, Brogdon is worth the gamble.” “The Pacers, meanwhile, have probably been scouring the league for the best offers for Brogdon. Yahoo didn't do trade grades, just winners and losers from the early days of free agency. After enduring the first night of free agency, Celtics manager Brad Stevens quickly signed veteran sharpshooter Danilo Gallinari for the mid-level taxpayer exception, trading Daniel Theis, Aaron Nesmith and their 2023 first-round draft pick for the former Indiana Pacers rookie year Malcolm Brogdon. Within hours of Friday, Stevens addressed two of the depth issues that cost Boston a title last season. Gallinari is a big wing who can ease the pressure on Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown in the regular season and save their energy for the playoffs, and Brogdon can lead the offense when his teammates die on the vine and commit turnover after turnover . Both Gallinari and Brogdon can also put out the lights and combined have 38% of their 9.3 combined 3-point attempts per game over the course of their careers.”

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How Celtics can use KD Sweepstakes to boost their roster

Even if the Celtics aren't pursuing a trade for Kevin Durant, there's a way to ease his exit from the Nets while gaining an enticing advantage. Our Chris Forsberg explains. (Author: Gardener)

SweepstakesAll eyes are on Kevin Durant's sweepstakes after his trade request from the Brooklyn Nets, but the Boston Celtics' greatest interest should be simply supporting his exit. There is worthy debate as to whether the Celtics should be willing to part with the ransom required to pry the future Hall of Famer off the Nets with four years left on his contract. What's even more intriguing to us is the possibility of Boston maximizing its bevy of traded player exceptions to facilitate a Durant deal -- particularly one that puts him in the Western Conference -- while bolstering his bench in the process. Durant's preferred landing spot is reportedly Phoenix, who could lead a trade pack featuring the young, defensive-minded combination of Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges along with future first-round picks. Another complication is the so-called base annual salary, which essentially means Ayton counts less money in an outbound trade than his entire cap, making it even more complicated for the networks to absorb enough salary without exceeding the luxury tax skirt they can't cross once they are firmly closed. With their collection of exceptions for traded players, including the $17.1 million Evan Fournier TPE, the Cs can accept a variety of salaries without sending any matching money. If the Nets had to cut their bottom line to allow for a deal, the Celtics could recapture Seth Curry ($8.5 million) and improve their bench offense. Or Boston could pick up some of Phoenix's outgoing salary, perhaps catching up with old friend Jae Crowder ($10.2 million) or 26-year-old forward Cam Johnson ($5.9 million). Celtics Talk: Why we prefer keeping Jaylen Brown over Kevin Durant and Danilo Gallinari joining the Celtics | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube But it's imperative for the Celtics to be opportunistic to make Durant's next home possible, as it could result in a price tag far bigger - and cheaper - than what's otherwise available with their TPEs and the mid-level exception .

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