Sue Bird Says She'll Return for 17th WNBA Season After Storm Win Championship

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 16, 2018

FAIRFAX, VA - SEPTEMBER 12:  Sue Bird #10 of the Seattle Storm looks on during the game against the Washington Mystics in Game Three of the 2018 WNBA Finals on September 12, 2018 at Eaglebank Arena at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Ned Dishman/Getty Images

Seattle Storm point guard Sue Bird indicated she intends to return for the 2019 WNBA season.

"That's the plan; I'll be back," Bird said Sunday as the Storm celebrated their WNBA Finals win over the Washington Mystics, per the WNBA's official Twitter account:

Despite being the oldest player in the WNBA (37), Bird averaged a career-high 9.7 assists per 36 minutes this past year, according toย Basketball Reference. She also connected on 44.8 percent from three-point range, another career best.

The 11-time All-Star has adapted her game to ease her overall workload. Her 17.5 percent usage rate was tied for her second-lowest ever, perย Basketball Reference, and she averaged a career-low 26.6 minutes per game.

Breanna Stewart, the 2018 WNBA MVP, may be the Storm's best player, but Bird is the team's heartbeat. That was never more evident than when she scored 14 points in the fourth quarter of Seattle's Game 5 win over the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA semifinals.

Having Bird back in 2019 gives the Storm their best shot at repeating as WNBA champions.

Her return also gives Jordin Canada at least one more year to play the understudy role. Canada led the team in defensive rating (92.6), perย WNBA.com, but remains a work in progress on offense.ย She shot 18.2 percent on three-pointers and averaged 3.3 assists to 1.7 turnovers.

Should Bird choose to walk away in 2019, Canada would be well-prepared to take over as the starting point guard in 2020.

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