An Update In Brittney Griner's Case Is Offering A Glimmer Of Hope For The Basketball Star

American basketball player Brittney Griner catapulted to fame earlier this year when it was revealed she had been arrested in Russia. She had gone to the war-involved country to play for UMMC Ekaterinburg in the off-season of the WNBA (via CNN). The arrest was made on the grounds of drug charges, as Griner had been carrying hash oil — otherwise known as cannabis — in the form of vape cartridges. Though she was given the drug with a doctor's recommendation in the U.S., any amount of narcotic substance is highly illegal in Russia. During her trial, Griner expressed that she suffers from pain from basketball-related injuries and used the hash oil to help relieve it (via The Guardian).

Several high profile individuals have made their opinion on the case clear, including Brittney Griner's wife and President Joe Biden, who called Griner's detainment "unacceptable." It has been a hot topic for months, even more so when Griner's nine year sentence was announced (via Reuters). Now, a new update has given the case a fresh perspective and some potential hope.

The basketball star could be released as part of a prisoner swap deal

An update has come via The Moscow Times – an independent Russian news source — with reports that Brittney Griner could potentially be traded for a man known as the "Merchant of Death." Viktor Bout, the man in question, has been in prison in the U.S. since 2012 and is currently serving a 25-year sentence for arming rebels in war-torn countries with weapons. Supposedly, Russia has been keen on Bout being released, giving those fighting for Griner's release a little bit of hope. 

The news indicates the first admission from Russia that such diplomatic channels with the U.S. — regarding Bout and Griner's swap — are open and active. As for Griner's loved ones back home, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have made it clear that "every avenue" will be pursued in order to bring the athlete back to the United States, The New York Times reported. 

Amongst those involved in the talks is Bill Richardson, former U.S ambassador for the United Nations. Richardson has successfully freed a handful of other American citizens held in countries around the world, and told ABC's "This Week" that he was feeling relatively positive about the "two for two" swap. However, he did go on to say that he was only a "catalyst" in the ongoing talks.