Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to the wife of detained American Brittney Griner on Saturday as the WNBA star’s imprisonment in Russia continues. According to a senior State Department official, the top US diplomat told Cherelle Griner that her wife’s release is a top priority for the department and has his full attention. Blinken said the State Department is working on the case day and night, and that Cherelle Griner should not to hesitate to reach out if there’s anything she is not getting.
On Monday, US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan said Russia had denied the embassy permission to visit her for the third time in a month. "This is unacceptable. We call on @mfa_russia to provide timely consular access, in line with Russia's intl & bilateral obligations," Sullivan said in a tweet posted by the embassy.
Kellan Olson: Monty Williams ended his availability today by expressing how much the group is thinking about Brittney Griner. They pray for her and her family a ton and he hopes people will have her in their thoughts even after the Suns' season is over.
Brittney Griner will remain in custody in Russia for at least another month ... a judge just denied her request for house arrest, forcing her to stay in jail for another 30 days. The 31-year-old WNBA superstar appeared in a Russian courtroom on Friday morning with the hopes of getting out of jail ... but her attorney told the Associated Press that did not happen. The attorney, Alexander Boikov, did say, though, that because of the short nature of the custody extension ... he did believe a trial in Griner's case might be coming soon. Griner wore an orange sweatshirt to Friday's hearing, and left the courtroom with a hood up over her head. In photos of her leaving her appearance, you can see she was wearing cuffs on her wrists.
The Suns will honor Mercury star Brittney Griner on their home court for the remainder of the playoffs. When Phoenix hosts Dallas in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals on Tuesday, the Footprint Center will feature Griner’s initials and her No. 42 on the sides of the court.
Phoenix Suns: One family. #WeAreBG Honoring Brittney Griner on our court for the remainder of the playoffs. ￼
The Biden administration has determined that WNBA star Brittney Griner is being wrongfully detained in Russia, meaning the United States will more aggressively work to secure her release even as the legal case against her plays out, the State Department said Tuesday. “The U.S. government will continue to undertake efforts to provide appropriate support to Ms. Griner,” the department said.
U.S. officials have shifted supervision of her case to a State Department section — the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs — that is focused on negotiating for the release of hostages and other Americans classified as being wrongfully detained in other countries. A consular officer did visit in March. “Brittney has been detained for 75 days and our expectation is that the White House do whatever is necessary to bring her home,” said Griner’s agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas.
The release of Trevor R. Reed, a former Marine, as part of a prisoner exchange with Russia on Wednesday brought fresh attention to the cases of other Americans who are still detained in Russia, including the W.N.B.A. star Brittney Griner and another former Marine, Paul Whelan. In a briefing to reporters on Wednesday, American officials said that the administration remained focused on the release of Ms. Griner and Mr. Whelan. But some observers noticed that in a statement after Mr. Reed’s release, President Biden had mentioned Mr. Whelan but not Ms. Griner.
Cherelle T. Griner, Ms. Griner’s wife, posted on Instagram on Wednesday that her heart was “overflowing with joy” for the Reed family. She added, “I do know the pain of having your loved one detained in a foreign country.” Mr. Whelan was sentenced in 2020 to 16 years in prison in Russia on espionage charges, which he has denied. On Wednesday, Elizabeth Whelan, the sister of Mr. Whelan, wrote on Twitter, “It’s amazing to see hostages come home, but oh so very hard on those left behind.”
Nets Daily: Former UN ambassador Bill Richardson, who helped engineer today's prisoner swap between US and Russia, tells MSNBC that he's been involved in trying to free WNBA's Brittney Griner. It's gotta be low-key, he said. He calls Griner "a very high profile and important person."
Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner was reportedly arrested at an airport in Moscow more than three weeks ago after the WNBA player was allegedly found with hashish oil vape cartridges in her luggage. On Tuesday, Russian State TV revealed the first image of the detained Griner, in a video shared by CNN.
CNN: Russian state TV has released a photo of WNBA star Brittney Griner, who was arrested on drug charges in the country after Russian officials say cannabis oil was found in her luggage. CNN's @RosaFlores has the story.
WNBA star Brittney Griner, who plays for the Phoenix Mercury, was arrested in February in Russia on drug smuggling charges and could be facing 5-10 years in prison in the country, per Russian news outlet Interfax. Griner was spending the offseason playing in the Euroleague and was heading to Moscow from New York last month before officials found vape cartridges in her luggage, which are illegal in Russia. A drug-sniffing dog ultimately found cannabis oil, aka weed, in her bag and later identified her as a WNBA player. There has been no indication that Brittany Griner has been released.
The 31-year-old hasn’t posted on Instagram since February 5th, which is concerning in itself. The Mercury have yet to comment on the situation, but it must be extremely scary for Griner, who is stuck in a foreign country in custody. Griner has actually been playing in the WNBA offseason in Russia for Ekaterinburg since 2015 without running into any issues. Here is the statement from Russian officials: “As a U.S. citizen was passing through the green channel at Sheremetyevo Airport upon arriving from New York, a working dog from the Sheremetyevo Customs canine department detected the possible presence of narcotic substances in the accompanying luggage,” the Russian Federal Customs Service said in a statement. “The customs inspection of the hand luggage being carried by the U.S. citizen confirmed the presence of vapes with specifically-smelling liquid, and an expert determined that the liquid was cannabis oil (hash oil), which is a narcotic substance.”
The Customs Service released a video of a traveler at the airport who appeared to be Griner, wearing a mask and black sweatshirt, going through security. The video showed an individual removing a package from the traveler’s bag. According to the statement, a criminal case has been opened into the large-scale transportation of drugs, which can carry a sentence of up to 10 years behind bars in Russia. The basketball player was taken into custody while the investigation was ongoing, the officials said.
In a statement, the Mercury said: “We are aware of and are closely monitoring the situation with Brittney Griner in Russia. We remain in constant contact with her family, her representation, the W.N.B.A. and N.B.A. We love and support Brittney and at this time our main concern is her safety, physical and mental health, and her safe return home.” The W.N.B.A. said in a statement that Griner “has the W.N.B.A.’s full support and our main priority is her swift and safe return to the United States.”
June 26, 2022 | 8:49 pm EDT Update
James Edwards III: Sources: The Pistons are likely to pick up Hamidou Diallo’s $5.2 million team option. Additionally, sources tell me and @Will Guillory that the Pistons are unlikely to pick up Frank Jackson’s $3.1 million team option. The club has until Tuesday to make official decisions.
“You look historically with the guys that we’ve had here,” Wright says about Sochan. “He kinda reminded me a little bit of Boris, just kinda worldly. His interests and hearing about how he thinks about basketball, but life outside of basketball, really lined up with what we kinda hoped to be and what we hoped the environment and culture to be. So we think he’s going to add to us both on and off the court.”
“I think he’s an amazing player,” Doncic said about Banchero. “He has a great head coach, I know him very well, so I know he’s gonna get the opportunity to him to prove himself … I wish him all the luck.”
Jeff Weltman told the Orlando Sentinel that the Magic spent time with Banchero during the NBA’s mid-May draft combine in Chicago. “We’ve seen Paolo so many times,” Weltman told the Orlando Sentinel. “We’ve had so many touch points with him. We got to spend a lot of time with him in different facets. We got all of the data points we asked him to provide for us. We had everything we needed to feel we’re making a well-rounded decision.”
“I think he’s a starter [in the NBA],” Carrawell, the Duke assistant coach, told The Post in a phone interview on Sunday about Trevor Keels. “It’s harder when you’re a second-round pick, but he’s only 18. If he stays with it, and gets an opportunity and improves, I compare him to Marcus Smart.
June 26, 2022 | 8:04 pm EDT Update
“Let me tell you, the difference between four [rings] and three may as well be having one and four. It feels so night and day, like the rarefied air that we’re in after winning the fourth one than the third one, it’s just so rare,” Green said. “I was on the phone with ‘Bron the other day, and I’m just telling him like ‘Bruh, going from three to four is insane’ and he was like ‘Yo, I’m telling you, It’s crazy.”