Miles Bridges

Hornets Deny Being Engaged In Talks With Miles Bridges

A report published two days before Christmas last month indicated that the Hornets and forward Miles Bridges were discussing a possible contract and were “gathering traction” in their negotiations. However, the Hornets deny that they’re in talks with the restricted free agent, according to Paige Masten of The Charlotte Observer.

“We have not been engaged in contract negotiations with Miles Bridges,” the Hornets told Masten in a statement.

Bridges was on track to be one of the top free agents in the class of 2022, but was arrested and charged with felony domestic abuse just days before his rookie contract expired, casting doubt on his NBA future. He was accused of assaulting his then-girlfriend in front of their two children.

Bridges ultimately worked out a plea deal with prosecutors in Los Angeles County, agreeing to plead no contest to one charge of felony domestic violence while two child abuse counts were dismissed. The 24-year-old avoided jail time by accepting three years of probation. He was ordered to attend a year’s worth of domestic violence counseling sessions and parenting classes in addition to completing 100 hours of community service.

Given the details of Bridges’ case, the Hornets are sure to face criticism if they bring back the forward, who may face a lengthy suspension from the NBA before he’s allowed to play. With that in mind, it’s hard to know with any certainty how genuine their statement is.

It’s notable that the Hornets didn’t rush to dispute Adrian Wojnarowski’s report about their alleged talks with Bridges when it was published in December. It’s also worth noting that the Hornets said they “have not been engaged” in discussions with Bridges, rather than simply stating they “have not engaged” in negotiations with him — there may be some semantics at play there, with the team indicating that the talks haven’t been ongoing.

According to Masten, the Hornets declined to comment when asked if they’ve ruled out the possibility of bringing back Bridges.

Based on Woj’s report last month and the fact that the Hornets haven’t made a clear effort to distance themselves from Bridges, I suspect he’ll be back under contract with Charlotte at some point. Still, the team’s statement to Masten suggests it might yet be a while before it happens.

Hornets, Miles Bridges Making Progress In Contract Talks

The only restricted free agent left on the market may have a deal in place in the near future, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who reports that the Hornets and forward Miles Bridges are “gathering traction” in their contract negotiations.

Bridges was on track to be one of the top free agents in the class of 2022, but was arrested and charged with felony domestic abuse just days before his rookie contract expired, casting doubt on his NBA future. He was accused of assaulting his then-girlfriend in front of their two children.

Bridges ultimately worked out a plea deal with prosecutors in Los Angeles County, agreeing to plead no contest to one charge of felony domestic violence while two child abuse counts were dismissed. The 24-year-old avoided jail time by accepting three years of probation. He was ordered to attend a year’s worth of domestic violence counseling sessions and parenting classes in addition to completing 100 hours of community service.

Following the resolution of his legal case, Bridges appears to have a path back to the NBA, though the league is completing its own investigation into the incident and has the power to suspend the four-year veteran. As Wojnarowski writes, Bridges can’t begin serving a possible suspension until he signs a new NBA contract, so if the Hornets intend to bring him back into the fold, they could be motivated to get something done sooner rather than later.

It’s unclear how long a suspension Bridges would be facing. Wojnarowski notes that another former Hornet, Jeffrey Taylor, was banned for 24 games in 2014 after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence assault. Bridges didn’t formally admit guilt in his case, but the allegations were considered credible and the NBA would likely face substantial pressure not to let him off lightly.

If he’s suspended for at least 20 games, Bridges would lose 1/110th of his 2022/23 salary for each game he misses, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

On the basketball court, Bridges had a breakout season in 2021/22, establishing new career highs in points (20.2), rebounds (7.0), and assists (3.8) per game while starting 80 games and averaging 35.5 minutes per night.

Southeast Notes: Hornets, Bridges, Wizards, Mitchell, Magic

Amid a series of injuries to key players and off-court issues, the Hornets have started the 2022/23 season with a 4-12 record, which has led to speculation that they’ll be among the teams looking to trade veterans and retool the roster in order to land a top pick in next year’s draft. However, a rival GM is skeptical Charlotte will hold any sort of fire sale this season.

The hurdle is getting the owner to go along with it,” the GM told Sean Deveney of Heavy Sports. “It is Michael Jordan. He has never OK’d something like that and it is not clear he would, even if it gets bad this year, even if it puts them in a good spot in the draft for Victor (Wembanyama). He has been pretty strong against tanking. Hard to see another way forward for them now, though.”

Here’s more from the Southeast:

  • Miles Bridges‘ status for this season is in limbo after he pleaded no contest in his felony domestic violence case. The NBA is investigating the incident, and Bridges is still a restricted free agent with the Hornets, but Shams Charania of The Athletic hears the Lakers and Pistons are among the teams monitoring his situation, he said on The Rally (Twitter video link).
  • The Wizards are still waiting for Will Barton to find his form this season, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. The veteran wing was acquired in a trade with the Nuggets over the summer and his averages have dropped across the board in ’22/23. “I’m just really trying to figure out what my role is and figure out how I’m going to play in my minutes. But I can’t worry about that. I’ve just gotta go out there and try to be as effective as possible whenever I’m on the court. I think I’m figuring that out,” he said. Barton will be an unrestricted free agent in 2023.
  • Wizards two-way guard Jordan Goodwin underwent testing after injuring his left knee on Wednesday, and while there was some initial concern that it might be severe, head coach Wes Unseld Jr. said Goodwin is “day-to-day” going forward (Twitter links via Josh Robbins of The Athletic). He was ruled out for Friday’s victory over the injury-depleted Heat.
  • Within his latest 10 things column for ESPN (subscriber link), Zach Lowe wonders if the Magic will eventually go all-in for a lead guard. Lowe says he liked the Magic as a “stealth” Donovan Mitchell suitor this summer, but hears from sources that Orlando didn’t appear to have “dived deeply” into pursuing the former Jazz star.

Southeast Notes: Anthony, Bridges, Oladipo, Butler, Avdija

Magic guard Cole Anthony, who suffered a right internal oblique injury on October 26, will likely return to the court for individual work within the next few days, a person with knowledge of the situation tells Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. However, Anthony is expected to remain sidelined for a few more weeks. Price’s source indicated that the former first-round pick will probably be out until after Thanksgiving, with a late November or early December return possible depending on how he responds to rehabilitation and treatment.

Here are a few more notes from around the Southeast:

  • In the wake of news that restricted free agent Miles Bridges has agreed to a plea deal and will be sentenced to three years of probation, the Hornets released the following statement on Thursday (via Twitter): “We are aware of today’s developments regarding Miles Bridges’ legal situation. We will continue to gather information before determining any potential next steps. Until then, we will have no additional comments.”
  • With Bridges’ case settled, Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report considers whether or not the Hornets will move forward with a deal for the RFA forward. As Pincus observes, the NBA’s history suggests that it’s probably only a matter of time before Bridges returns to the court, despite the horrific allegations against him. If and when he officially signs a contract, the league would have the option of suspending him based on its findings in his domestic violence case.
  • In a Hoop Collective segment earlier this week (video link), ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said he doesn’t get the sense that Heat guard Victor Oladipo (left knee tendinosis) is “anywhere close” to returning to action. “They haven’t put a timetable on it, but I was kind of led to believe it ain’t happening in the near future,” Windhorst said. Jimmy Butler also missed a second consecutive game on Friday for the Heat due to left hip tightness.
  • Wizards forward Deni Avdija has been out of the starting lineup for the team’s last three games and admits the demotion is “not easy,” writes Josh Robbins of The Athletic. However, he’s determined to maintain a positive attitude. “I learned that I need to be patient,” Avdija said of the experience. “I learned that I need to stay ready. I learned that I’m strong mentally, and I’ll figure it out in any situation.”

Miles Bridges Takes Plea Deal, Will Avoid Jail Time

Restricted free agent Hornets forward Miles Bridges and his representatives have worked out a plea deal with prosecutors regarding his felony domestic violence case, per Baxter Holmes of ESPN. Bridges pleaded no contest, meaning he’s accepting a punishment and conviction without admitting guilt.

Bridges was arrested and charged following a Los Angeles incident this spring in which he was accused of physical violence against his partner in front of their two young children. She required medical attention following the incident, per TMZ Sports.

In July, Bridges pleaded not guilty to the three charges initially levied at him: one count of injuring a parent to a minor, and two counts of child abuse in situations that could cause significant injury or death. As Holmes notes, the office of Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon indicated that Bridges’ kids were present to witness the abuse, but would not otherwise elaborate on the two child abuse charges.

On Thursday, Bridges’ lawyer finalized a plea deal with Gascon’s office, in which Bridges would plead no contest to one charge of felony domestic violence while the two child abuse counts were dismissed. Bridges will accept three years of probation while avoiding jail time.

According to Holmes, Bridges has been ordered to attend a year’s worth of domestic violence counseling sessions and a year of parenting classes. Another element of his three-year probation is 100 hours of community service.

Bridges will not be permitted to own any dangerous weapons, including guns or ammo. He was ordered to pay minimal fines and is also required to honor his former girlfriend’s 10-year restraining order, which mandates that he is to have no contact with her and must remain 100 yards or more away from her at all times. He will be permitted to keep shared custody of their children, with any visitation or exchange of the children occurring through a neutral third party, Holmes explains.

Though Bridges received a qualifying offer to enter restricted free agency just weeks before he was booked, Charlotte let the offer expire early last month. Thus, Bridges remains a restricted free agent, but he will no longer be able to accept the qualifying offer. He could negotiate a new deal with the Hornets or sign an offer sheet with another team.

If the 6’7″ combo forward does eventually sign a new contract with an NBA club, the league would have the ability to fine, suspend, or even disqualify Bridges due to his no-contest plea. The NBA wouldn’t have the jurisdiction to discipline Bridges if he had gone through the trial process and been found not guilty.

Southeast Notes: Banchero, Goodwin, Bridges, Hunter, Oladipo

Paolo Banchero‘s rookie season begins in Detroit on Wednesday. The Magic forward knows he’ll have a target on his back as the top overall pick and he’s looking forward to the challenge, Marc Stein reports in a Substack post.

“Every guy on the opposite team knows who I am and probably wants to prove something and is probably going to test me — especially with me also being a rookie — and try to see what I’m made of,” Banchero said. “So the key is just being ready for it and accepting the challenge. That’s not something I back down from.”

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Guard Jordan Goodwin had his Exhibit 10 contract converted into a two-way deal by the Wizards over the weekend. He will try to live up to the contract by being messy — in a good way, as he told Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. “[I’m] just a guy that can do a lot of things,” Goodwin said. “I think my main focus here is just going to be defensively. Try to come in and muck things up, make things a little messy. Just make the right play offensively, whether that’s shoot the ball or make the extra pass, screening.”
  • A preliminary hearing regarding Miles Bridges’ felony domestic violence case in Los Angeles was delayed for the seventh time Monday and moved to November 3, according to Michael Gordon of the Charlotte Observer. In the hearing, prosecutors will be required to produce evidence to show the Hornets free agent forward committed a crime. Bridges was arrested on June 29 and faces three felony domestic violence charges.
  • De’Andre Hunter got his rookie scale extension. Now, the Hawks forward wants to show he’s worthy of the four-year contract, which can be worth up to $95MM, Lauren Williams of the Atlanta Journal Constitution writes. “I mean, it’s gonna be my home for the next four or five years, whatever,” Hunter said. “Like I said, I’m just grateful, thankful that they gave me the opportunity, that they have so much faith in me as a player, just trying to work my butt off and do what I need to do to become a better player for the team.”
  • The Heat’s Victor Oladipo (left knee tendinosis) and Omer Yurtseven (left ankle impingement) are listed as out for Wednesday’s opener against the Bulls, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald tweets.

Southeast Notes: Beal, Porzingis, Rozier, Bridges, Herro, Magic

The Wizards‘ two stars remain on track to be available for the team’s regular season opener next week. Bradley Beal, who briefly entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, was cleared on Monday following a negative COVID-19 test and has since rejoined the club at practice, according to Ava Wallace of The Washington Post and Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington (Twitter links).

Meanwhile, Kristaps Porzingis sprained his left ankle during Monday’s preseason game vs. Charlotte, but that injury is considered very minor, Hughes writes for NBC Sports Washington.

“I already knew it was nothing major. I wanted to go back in in the second half,” Porzingis said. “But I just wanted to be smart, they told me to relax and get ready for the next one or for the regular season.”

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • The Hornets, who aren’t exactly loaded with point guard depth, are expected to shift Terry Rozier over from his shooting guard spot to take on additional ball-handling responsibilities while LaMelo Ball recovers from an ankle sprain, according to Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer. “Look, Terry was the starting point guard on a team that went to the Eastern Conference Finals,” head coach Steve Clifford said, referring to the 2018 Celtics. “So it’s a role that he’s comfortable with. And if that ends up being the situation, that’s how we’d do it.”
  • The preliminary court hearing for Hornets forward Miles Bridges has been delayed yet again, according to Baxter Holmes of ESPN, who tweets that the new date is October 17. That hearing for Bridges, who has pleaded not guilty to three felony domestic violence charges, was initially scheduled for August 19.
  • Trading Tyler Herro after signing him to a rookie scale extension would have been tricky due to the poison pill provision. However, that didn’t stop the Heat from making their initial extension offer to the fourth-year guard on July 1, even as they remained involved in the Kevin Durant sweepstakes, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. According to Herro, that original offer was worth $100MM over four years. He eventually accepted once the Heat upped their offer to a guaranteed $120MM. “Thirty million a year is what I thought I was worth,” Herro said.
  • Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel takes a look at how the Magic intend to compensate for the play-making they’ll be missing with guards Markelle Fultz (toe) and Jalen Suggs (knee) sidelined to start the season. “We talk about this often — sometimes injuries provide opportunities for others,” head coach Jamahl Mosley said. “With that being said, Franz (Wagner) will have an opportunity to handle the ball more, Paolo (Banchero) will handle the ball more. We play maybe a little bit more — as you saw last year — through Wendell (Carter). Those are going to be the opportunities to happen as we move forward.”

Eastern Notes: Suggs, P. Williams, Sixers, Bridges

After battling health issues as a rookie, Magic guard Jalen Suggs was frustrated to sustain another injury during the preseason, so it came as a relief when his diagnosis wasn’t as serious as it could have been. Suggs has a left knee capsule sprain and bone bruise.

“Those things really can either go one of two ways — they can be the worst or be things that are really manageable,” Suggs said on Sunday, per Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. “Thankfully, it was one of those really manageable things.”

Speaking to Price in a separate Sentinel story, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Tony Wanich said Suggs was fortunate to avoid an ACL injury and suggested that the second-year guard could be back on the court in November.

“A capsule injury usually heals in about two-to-four weeks,” Wanich said. “But the bone bruise usually takes a bit longer and closer to the six-week timeline depending on how extensive that bone bruise is.”

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Bulls head coach Billy Donovan downplayed his decision to remove Patrick Williams from the starting lineup for the team’s two most recent preseason games, but the significance of that move is “clear for all to see,” argues Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. Javonte Green, who earned the start in Williams’ place on Friday, has scored 50 points in 60 minutes this preseason and is playing like the Bulls want Williams to, Mayberry writes. “When you put Javonte out there, you know what you’re going to get,” Donovan said after Friday’s game.
  • Following the Sixersrelease of Trevelin Queen, Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice believes Isaiah Joe looks like the “clear frontrunner” for the team’s final regular season roster spot, ahead of Charles Bassey.
  • The preliminary hearing for Hornets restricted free agent Miles Bridges was pushed back for a fifth time, to October 12, according to Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer (subscriber-only link). That hearing for Bridges, who has pleaded not guilty to three felony domestic violence charges, was initially scheduled for August 19.

Eastern Notes: Mobley, Bridges, Clifford, Rose, Grimes

Cavaliers second-year forward Evan Mobley will miss one-to-two weeks due to a right ankle sprain, the team tweets. He’ll undergo a period of treatment and rehab before returning to action.

The Cavaliers open the regular season on Oct. 19 against Toronto, so it remains to be seen whether Mobley will be ready to go by that point. Mobley appeared in 69 regular season games during his rookie year.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Hornets did not extend the deadline for Miles Bridges‘ $7,921,300 qualifying offer, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on The Rally TV show (Twitter link). Charlotte had an Oct. 1 cutoff date to extend the offer or allow it to expire. However, Bridges remains a restricted free agent. Bridges’ legal issues have made his free agency a moot point at this stage.
  • Steve Clifford, who is in his second stint as the Hornets’ coach, said he did a “poor job” in his most recent season with Charlotte, he told Joe Vardon of The Athletic. The 2017/18 team won 36 games and failed to make the playoffs. “That was a team I did a poor job with as much as anything, because we had always been good defensively, and I thought if we could get better on offense we’d really have a chance to be good,” Clifford said. “We spent training camp doing a ton of offense, and we were never good defensively.”
  • Derrick Rose played just 26 games last season due to ankle issues that required surgery but the Knicks guard vows to stay on the court this season, Peter Botte of the New York Post writes. “I feel very healthy,” he said. “I feel like I’m going to play in a lot of games — I mean, I know I’m going to play in a lot of games this year. … I feel lighter. I’m moving a lot better. I’m not worried about my shot. My shot looks great.”
  • Quentin Grimes won’t play in the Knicks’ preseason game against Detroit on Tuesday due to a foot injury, Fred Katz of The Athletic tweets.

Hornets Notes: Bouknight, Jones, Thor, Bridges, Hayward

Second-year Hornets players James Bouknight, Kai Jones and JT Thor are hoping to enjoy more responsibilities with Charlotte this season, per Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer. Boone notes that this triumvirate of reserves needs to be prepared when new (returning) head coach Steve Clifford calls their number.

“We’ve talked about the potential of the team,” Jones said. “The biggest thing for us is always just being workers. We talk about that all the time, getting your extra in, coming in whenever you can — early morning, late at night — to be the player that you can be. Fulfill your potential.”

Bouknight reflected on the areas of his game he has been building out during the offseason.

“Just working over the summer on making the right reads on the weak side, passing the ball, playing with my size, playing on the defensive end,” he said. “I just think I’m capable of doing everything on the court, honestly.” 

There’s more out of Charlotte:

  • The future of current Hornets forward Miles Bridges, Charlotte’s leading scorer in 2021/22, remains up in the air. The preliminary hearing in Los Angeles for his three domestic violence felony charges has been pushed back for a fourth time, from September 16 to October 7, according to Michael Gordon and Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer. Bridges pleaded not guilty to all three charges in July. He remains a restricted free agent.
  • Oft-injured Hornets forward Gordon Hayward is missing today’s preseason opener after he “banged his knee” in a team practice, per Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter link). “He wants to play,” head coach Steve Clifford said. “He’s actually a little upset about it, but it doesn’t make any sense to me and it doesn’t make any sense to [team trainer] Joe [Sharpe].”
  • In case you missed it, Luke Adams penned a Community Shootaround piece about some of the big questions surrounding the Hornets heading into the 2022/23 season. Weigh in with your thoughts!