Diana Taurasi plans on ‘playing for a while’ ahead of 18th WNBA season

Diana Taurasi apparently isn’t ready to call it a career.

The Phoenix Mercury star is ready to kick off her 18th WNBA season next week, and plans on “playing for a while” longer.

“I’ll let you guys know when I’m done because you’re not gonna see me anymore,” Taurasi said on Wednesday, via ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss. “When I’m done playing, I’m just going to stop playing. I’m not going to ease my way out.

“I want to play, and when I suck, I won’t play. Trust me, I’ll be in those workouts in the winter and be like, ‘Hmm, that’s it.’ ”

With all that Taurasi’s accomplished, nobody would blame her for retiring.

The 39-year-old was the No. 1 overall pick in 2004, and has earned 10 All-Star nods and one league MVP award in her 18 seasons in the WNBA. She won three WNBA titles with the Mercury, too.

Though she didn’t play much last season — she missed the first chunk of the season with a chest injury — she averaged 15.2 points and 4.9 assists in 16 games and helped lead the Mercury back to the WNBA Finals.

With her injury history, Taurasi said her daily schedule will change “tremendously” this season in an effort to keep her out on the court.

"I don't think there was a time where, in my first 15 years, I would have even thought of just taking a practice off because you just take it off," she said, via ESPN. "And, now, you have to be little bit more strategic of the days and look at the schedule and see, well, 'What days are going to be high days? What days are gonna be low days?' There really is no day off.

"It's almost harder. It was easier when I just practiced every day, just went in there and practiced. Now, there's a laundry list of things that I just have to do to be primed to play on game nights, and that's the goal at this point."

As for what’s next, Taurasi just wants to keep playing. Who knows when she’ll actually retire. She even said that she’ll “see you in Paris” for the 2024 Olympics after helping Team USA win a gold medal in Tokyo. If she was serious, that means she has at least a few years left in her.

Until that time comes, though, Taurasi said she doesn’t want to think too hard about it. “I’m an addict,” she said, and walking away from basketball isn’t something she wants to deal with just yet.

“I just don't think that far into the future. I'm very present where I'm at as far as my basketball career," she said, via ESPN. "I'm not ignorant about how old I am and the things that I've done, but I'm still very present in the things that I'm doing right now."

Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury
Diana Taurasi is getting ready to start her 18th WNBA season next month. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)