Phoenix Mercury point guard Diana Taurasi, one of the elite players in the WNBA, will sit out the entire 2015 season after signing a contract with a Russian team that requires her to rest.

The Mercury, who are defending WNBA champions, announced the move Tuesday afternoon.

She plans to return to the team for the 2016 season.

In a letter to Phoenix fans, Taurasi wrote: "The year-round nature of women's basketball takes its toll and the financial opportunity with my team in Russia would have been irresponsible to turn down. They offered to pay me to rest and I've decided to take them up on it. I want to be able to take care of myself and my family when I am done playing."

Taurasi has accepted an offer from: UMMC Ekaterinburg, which plays in Russia's Premier League and has won six titles. It also has won two European women's titles, most recently in 2013. Several other Americans have played for the club, include Sue Bird of Seattle and Candace Parker of Los Angeles.

The former University of Connecticut star has played her entire 11-year pro career for Phoenix, which defeated the Lynx last season in the Western Conference finals.

Here is the full story from the Arizona Republic web site.

Here is the letter that Taurasi wrote to Phoenix fans.