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U.S. Reportedly Discussing Prisoner Swap For Brittney Griner

Brittney Griner of the Mercury.

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - OCTOBER 13: Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury celebrates with fans following Game Two of the 2021 WNBA Finals at Footprint Center on October 13, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Mercury defeated the Sky 91-86 in overtime. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

WNBA superstar Brittney Griner remains held in Russia on drug charges and faces a lengthy prison sentence if convicted. But the U.S. government is apparently trying to negotiate her release by offering a prisoner Russia may want back.

According to Forbes, the U.S. government is prepared to do a prisoner swap to bring Griner back to the States. In exchange, the U.S. is prepared to offer convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout, who is currently serving a 25-year sentence in a Florida prison.

Per the report, negotiations are still in the early stages. The U.S. State Department has declined to comment.

Griner was arrested in February after Russian customs officials claimed to find vape cartridges with hash oil in her luggage. If convicted, she may be imprisoned for upwards of 10 years.

Brittney Griner is a seven-time WNBA All-Star who won the 2014 WNBA championship with the Phoenix Mercury. But Griner also plays offseason basketball in Russia with UMMC Ekaterinburg. 

The timing of her arrest could have been worse as Russia is being sanctioned globally for its invasion of sovereign Ukraine. It's widely believed that Griner will be used as a political bargaining chip as Russia tries to mitigate the effects of sanctions.

The WNBA and its players have done what they can to show support for Griner through her ordeal. But it's a situation that only the government can resolve now. 

Will Brittney Griner be brought back to the United States before the summer?