Getty Images

Sue Bird, arguably the best point guard in WNBA history, is not done yet. On Friday, the 41-year-old announced on Instagram that she'll be returning to the Seattle Storm for her 21st season in the league. Bird posted a video of Storm fans chanting "one more year" and captioned it "Ok." She also included a photo of her walking into the team facility. 

The Storm briefly confirmed the news, posting multiple images to social media announcing Bird's return. Those were quickly deleted, however, because Bird is a free agent. Teams are not allowed to negotiate with players until Jan. 15th, and new contracts cannot be signed until Feb. 1. Those rules get skirted all the time, but it's still not a good idea for teams to make it so obvious. 

The No. 1 overall pick in 2002, Bird has spent her entire record-setting career in Seattle. Over her 18 seasons of play (she missed all of the 2013 and 2019 seasons due to injury), she's led the Storm to four championships, made 12 All-Star Games and eight All-WNBA appearances. She's also the league's all-time assists leader and last year was named to the 25th anniversary team. 

There was never a question about if she would sign somewhere else in free agency this winter, but rather if she would come back at all. Following the Storm's second-round playoff exit last season, Bird shared an emotional moment on the court with her longtime friend and rival Diana Taurasi. The two exchanged jerseys, and the Storm fans' "one more year" chant appeared to bring Bird to tears. At the time, at least, it seemed like a send-off. 

But after taking the offseason to think things over, Bird has decided to give it another go. During an appearance on the "Manning Cast" a few months ago, Bird acknowledged that she was enticed by the opportunity to play in the brand new Climate Change Arena, which the Storm will be moving into this season. The way the Storm's season ended -- a quick playoff exit without an injured Breanna Stewart -- also likely played a role in Bird's decision. A competitor like her wouldn't want to go out that way.

Speaking of Stewart, the former MVP is also a free agent this winter. So too, is Jewell Loyd. Again, nothing can be official until Feb. 1, but it's hard to imagine Bird would be returning without some sort of guarantee that both Stewart and Loyd would be back as well. 

If all three of them are indeed in Seattle next season, the Storm will be one of the favorites to win the 2022 title. A third championship in five years, and a WNBA-record fifth overall, would be quite the way for Bird to go out if the Storm could pull it off.