The Charlotte Hornets will keep popular trade candidate Miles Bridges, per the latest NBA news.
Miles Bridges has decided he won’t approve any trades and he will remain with the Charlotte Hornets the rest of the season, agent Rich Paul tells ESPN.
Bridges will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and the Hornets will retain his Bird Rights.
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) February 8, 2024
Bridges joined the Hornets after the team traded for him from the Los Angeles Clippers during the 2018 NBA Draft. In his Hornets career, Bridges averaged 14.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game. This season, Bridges is averaging a career-high 21.9 points per game and has dropped 41 and 45 points in his last two games.
The Michigan State alum missed the entirety of the 2022-23 season due to a domestic violence incident. Additionally, Bridges missed the first 10 games of this season as part of an official 30-game suspension from the league.
Though the team signed Bridges to a $7.9 million qualifying offer over the summer, there were expectations that Bridges was not sticking around for the long haul. Per a Yahoo! Sports report from December, “there’s not a lot of confidence” Bridges was going to stay in Charlotte after this season:
Jake Fischer on Miles Bridges: “There’s not a lot of confidence or expectation around the league that he’s gonna be back in Charlotte next year.”
Even so, Bridges publicly expressed his desire to stay with the Hornets. With this news, it seems like Bridges was speaking the truth:
“Like I said before, the Hornets have been behind me and I want to stay here,” Bridges told the Observer. “I want to be here and that’s never going to change. So, as much talk as people hear that’s going around, just know that I want to stay with the Hornets.”
NBA News: Charlotte Hornets Trade Miles Bridges
Why The Hornets Were Expected to Bridges
First things first, Bridges is a very good basketball player. Bridges is an athletic, offensive-minded wing. At 6’7, Bridges possesses great size. Though his defense is nothing to write home about, the Michigan native can at least handle his own and use his size to his benefit.
However, a combination of Bridges’ expiring contract and his domestic violence case made him expendable. Trading Bridges now would allow Charlotte to get assets in return as opposed to letting him walk in free agency. Plus, Brandon Miller‘s stellar rookie season so far likely would have made it easier for the team to build around him and his skill set.
Last month, Bridges spoke about Miller and how impressed he has been by the rookie:
“It doesn’t even feel like Brandon Miller is a rookie,” Miles Bridges said. “He knows the insides and outs of the game. He plays with amazing pace, which is not something that a rookie plays with. So he’s been very good with us and he’s going to be great within the next few years and I’m just excited to see how he grows. Yeah, he’s been great for us.”
The Last Word on Miles Bridges
While Bridges is a good, young player, trading him would have made sense for the 10-40 Hornets. Especially considering how many teams were reportedly interested in him, it made no sense for the team to let him walk in the offseason for nothing. However, Bridges has publicly spoken about his desire to stay in Charlotte. Though he is a free agent this summer, the Hornets may keep him for the long haul after all.