Miles Bridges’ free agency is getting quite complicated. He’s made the Hornets’ offseason news for the wrong reasons, being caught on social media smoking and drinking.
Bridges broke out as a solid scorer and stopper last season but has also been trending for his music videos and hip-hop persona. And, while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, Brian Windhorst of ESPN reports that the Charlotte Hornets are having second thoughts on him as a potential franchise player:
“Let’s take a look at Miles Bridges. He is not being offered from what I am told a max contract by the Charlotte Hornets right now,” Windhorst said. “So he is going to go out into the marketplace, starting on Thursday, Friday, and see if he can get that offer from somewhere else so we’re gonna find out.”
Miles Bridges free agency
Let’s take a look at Miles Bridges’ free agency and how it may turn. Some argue the Hornets aren’t going to let him walk away for free so a sign-and-trade seems like the most likely scenario (refer to our NBA sign and trades explained article for in-depth information on this matter).
Bridges is coming off averaging 20.2 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.8 blocks, and 1.9 three-pointers per game on 35.5 minutes per game and 49/33/80 shooting. He can play both forward spots, some small-ball center, and is just 23 years old, so there will most definitely be plenty of league-wide interest in his services.
Miles Bridges projected contract and fits
Miles Bridges’ free agency will be underway after he turned down a four-year, $60 million contract extension by the Charlotte Hornets last fall. He decided to bet on himself and it seems like it’s bound to pay off, as he’s coming off the best season of his career and is now eligible to sign a max contract.
Bridges could sign a five-year, $173 million pact as a restricted free agent. That would force the Hornets to either match that offer and keep him or work out a sign-and-trade with him if they no longer consider him a part of their project.
So, how should Miles Bridges’ free agency pan out? He’s one of the best free agents this offseason. He’s young, athletic, can play and guard multiple positions, create his own shot, and score from all three levels. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the three destinations that make the most sense for him right now.
There’s always the possibility that Miles Bridges doesn’t get a max contract offer somewhere else. Or that the Charlotte Hornets decide to bring him back. That would make sense for everybody involved, as they’re on the verge of becoming a legit playoff contender.
Bridges has developed strong chemistry with LaMelo Ball. He was an integral part of their offense last season. He was their leading scorer, second-best rebounder, and was also third in assists per game. They’re not likely going to find someone to replace his production right away, especially in this underwhelming free agency class.
The Hornets have some intriguing young players who could be in line for a bigger workload without him. But would they want to waste a year of LaMelo Ball with a rebuilding, younger roster? Michael Jordan likes to take risks, but that would be crazy. They just can’t afford to lose him for nothing as he’s just entering his prime.
The Portland Trail Blazers just landed Jerami Grant and that’s a huge pickup for them. They now have a versatile combo forward/small-ball center who can play and guard multiple spots, knock down shots from all three levels, and help Damian Lillard carry the load.
Anfernee Simons also broke out last season and looks poised to be the team’s starting shooting guard. Lillard will be healthy again, and pairing him with Bridges, Simons, Grant, and Jusuf Nurkic will most definitely put them back in the playoff picture. If they’re for real about contending, they need to get this done.
Even if the Blazers eventually decide to trade Lillard, building around Bridges and Simons seems acceptable for the future, as he’s just 23 years old. They have the cap space and they’d have one of the most athletic frontcourts we’ve seen in years. It just seems like a match made in heaven.
The Minnesota Timberwolves celebrated their play-in victory like it was Game 7 of the NBA Finals. That was lowkey embarrassing but also reflects just how hard it’s been for the franchise and how much they want to be better and compete at the highest level. And truth be told, they’re not that far off from that.
The D’Angelo Russell experiment didn’t work out, plain and simple. But Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns could wreak havoc together for years to come. Add Miles Bridges to that mix and they’d have a young, exciting Big 3 that could finally put an end to their postseason woes. Even in the tough Western Conference.
Russell could find his way to Charlotte and either start or come off the bench. He could give them another ball-handler and scoring threat. While that may not be what the Hornets wanted, it would be best for them to land a borderline All-Star player instead of letting Bridges walk away for free.