Storm’s Sue Bird says she hasn’t made a decision about retirement, is tempted to play in Seattle’s new arena


Seattle Storm legend Sue Bird made an appearance on the “Manning Cast” on Monday night, joining Peyton and Eli Manning for the NFL game between the Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints. The trio touched on a number of topics, including, of course, Bird’s future. 

Unsurprisingly, Bird said she hasn’t made a final decision one way or the other. However, she did drop an interesting hint about why she’s tempted to return for a 20th season. 

Bird’s full comments:

“I don’t know, I don’t know. Luckily our free agency doesn’t start for a while so I get some time to think. I don’t know. I feel like, we just opened a new arena here in Seattle and I happened to be in there the other day for the opening [Seattle] Kraken game. And it was tempting… the thoughts of playing there were very tempting. I leave you with that.”

The brand new Climate Pledge Arena just opened earlier this month in Seattle after years of renovation, and the game Bird was referencing was the first-ever home game for the NHL expansion franchise, the Seattle Kraken. Bird was one of a number of Seattle stars honored at the game, and the experience clearly had a moving effect on her. 

After splitting the past few seasons at Alaska Airlines Arena on the campus of the University of Washington, and Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, Washington, the Storm will finally have a permanent home at Climate Pledge Arena starting next summer. 

While getting to play in a state-of-the-art facility would be a nice bonus, that’s obviously not going to be the deciding factor for Bird. Now 41 years old, she’s been playing professional basketball since 2002 and will have to decide if she’s mentally and physically capable of going through the grind again. 

Can her body withstand the games, practices and travel once the season begins? And does she want to do everything it would take in the seven-plus month offseason to be ready to play? Those are the questions she’s going to be thinking about over the next few weeks and months. 

When the Storm were eliminated from the 2021 WNBA playoffs in the second round, it certainly felt like a send-off for Bird, who received a standing ovation from the Seattle crowd and swapped jerseys with longtime friend and rival Diana Taurasi. At the same time, Bird still averaged 10 points and 5.3 assists per game last season, finishing sixth in the league in the latter category. She can still play at a high level, and the Storm are going to be contenders again next season assuming they also bring back fellow free agents Breanna Stewart and Jewell Loyd. 

Whether Bird is going to be a part of that remains to be seen, but it’s clear from her comments on Monday that she’s at least considering another season. WNBA free agency officially begins on Feb. 1, which is when teams are allowed to sign players to contracts. If Bird does sign on for one more year, there’s no question it will be with the Storm. 





Source link