Opposing executives believe Hornets forward Miles Bridges may receive a maximum contract offer as a free agent, perhaps creating an avenue in which he would move to a new team, per Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Bridges is coming off a stellar season and will be a restricted free agent. But the belief seems to be that Charlotte would hesitate to match a max offer from an opposing team. If Bridges doesn’t receive a max offer, he could receive a “near-max,” Charania noted.
An hard-nosed defender, Bridges averaged 20.2 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 80 games this past season. While Charania did not link him to any teams other than the Hornets, there is no doubt Bridges is viewed as a player who could serve as a strong second option in a winning program.
“In a league that saw wings such as Golden State’s Andrew Wiggins and Boston’s Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have game-changing impacts on a run to the NBA Finals, Bridges’ two-way ability on the wing has become incredibly valued toward winning,” Charania wrote.
Among the teams looking to make moves for a realistic shot to compete for a championship: the Lakers and Clippers. But anyone wanting to land Bridges will likely have to be prepared for a sign-and-trade.
A lottery team such as the Pistons on other hand, could afford to pay Bridges a max deal and make him one of several key centerpieces in a rebuild.
Bridges, 24, has spent each of his first four NBA seasons in Charlotte, displaying durability by appearing in at least 65 games every year.
The Hornets are on the lookout for a new coach after ex-Nets coach and current Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson agreed to take the job, then back out. They are starting over in their search. Former Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni and former Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts were believed to be among the finalists who initially lost the job to Atkinson.