Diana Taurasi hopes to play through at least the 2022 WNBA season, when her current contract runs out, but knows she may feel differently come the offseason.
"I hopefully can fulfill my obligation. But you never know," Taurasi told ESPN. "The offseason is really long in the WNBA. With not playing overseas, it makes that eight months really, really long: to stay game-ready physically and mentally."
Taurasi and the Phoenix Mercury have a must-win Game 4 against the Chicago Sky at Wintrust Arena on Sunday (3 p.m. ET, ESPN). The Sky lead the best-of-five series, 2-1, after the largest margin of victory in a Finals game in WNBA history.
Diana Taurasi will take offseason to consider retirement
Taurasi, 39, said she'll talk with her family in the offseason and "do a little soul-searching" to see if she wants to come back. Her current max contract ends after the 2021 season, which would be her 18th in the league.
"I'll take my time," she said, via ESPN. "When the season's over, I'll disappear like I usually do in the offseason and go back and see what we do."
Taurasi and her wife, former Mercury player and assistant coach Penny Taylor, welcomed their second child recently. Their daughter, Isla, was born Oct. 9 and joins 3-year-old son, Leo.
Health could be factor for Taurasi retirement
Taurasi played in 16 of 32 regular-season games this season while dealing with a broken sternum, injured ankle and foot injuries. She missed a few games in 2020 and played in only six in 2019 due to a back injury.
"The mental grind of it is no easy task," she said. "If you're going to play the whole season, you better be locked in. Or the season becomes very long and very difficult. And then that obviously wears on you physically.
"So it's, 'Am I willing to put in the six months of work to be able to play?' You know at this age, you can't just take four months off and think you're going to come and run around with these kids and be OK."
Taurasi used to play overseas in Russia during the offseason and it's where she made the bulk of her money, which she pointed out when she paid for a charter flight home after Game 5 of the semifinals. The time between the end of the WNBA Finals this upcoming week and preseason at the end of April is six months.
She was recently named "The GOAT" by the WNBA in a fan vote celebrating its 25th anniversary.
Taurasi, Bird retirements coming
Bird, who turned 41 on Saturday, said it's the first offseason she's seriously mulling retirement. The four-time WNBA champion had an emotional moment with Taurasi at midcourt after the Mercury defeated the Storm to move on. Taurasi said the two have discussed retirement for a few seasons now.
"The conversation of playing and not playing, if you go into our thread, it's been going on for two, three years," Taurasi said, via ESPN. "As the season approaches, we both get into this competitive mode, and we always end up playing again. It's because we still love it."
Bird completed her 18th season this past year. The Seattle crowd chanted "one more year" during her postgame interview.