Hornets forward Miles Bridges said this week that he’s grateful to the city of Charlotte and loves being a part of the team, writes Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. Bridges will be a restricted free agent this summer when the team tenders him a $7.92MM qualifying offer, which is a foregone conclusion after his breakout fourth season.
“My mom loves it here, my kids love it here,” Bridges said Thursday. “Charlotte has really taken me in and brought me in. I got drafted as a 20-year-old kid. And for me to grow up here and for everybody to embrace me like they have, that’s something I’ll never forget. Especially going into the contract season. Charlotte took me in as a 20-year-old kid, and now I’m a 24-year-old man, and I love it here.”
The Hornets and Bridges had a disappointing end to their season, as the 24-year-old was ejected from Wednesday’s blowout play-in tournament loss to Atlanta and then received a $50K fine for throwing his mouthpiece into the stands and hitting a teenage fan (he later apologized). He finished with 12 points, four rebounds and four assists after averaging 20.2 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 80 games this season.
“I would love to play with Melo and Terry for the rest of my career,” Bridges said. “Those are my guys, my brothers. All of us damn near averaged 20 (points) this year, so just to have that type of relationship with such dynamic players and bring it to the basketball court every night, you don’t see that too much in the NBA. And we have that relationship and that’s what it is. It will always be like that. So I’m just happy to be a part of them.”
Here’s more on the Hornets:
- Backup point guard Isaiah Thomas, an unrestricted free agent this summer who served as a mentor to Ball, would also like to stick with Charlotte. “Man, I want to be here,” Thomas said, according to Boone. “I see something special in this group. I see a place where I can really help. But I would love to be here. This team gave me a chance when really nobody was giving me one. They allowed me to come in and be who I am. They embraced that on and off the floor.”
- Gordon Hayward is suffering from a bone chip in his left foot, which is why he missed the team’s play-in game, Boone tweets. Hayward initially sprained ligaments in his left ankle back in February, which caused him to miss 22 games, but after just one game back he started experiencing pain and was diagnosed with the foot injury, as Jonathan M. Alexander of The Charlotte Observer relays.
- John Hollinger of The Athletic explores the team’s offseason and future, noting that a starting-caliber center and improving the defense are areas that need to be addressed, but doing so could be easier said than done.