Miles Bridges

Hornets Notes: Schnall, Plotkin, Jordan, Roster

New Hornets co-chairmen Rick Schnall and Gabe Plotkin gave an exclusive interview to Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer on Thursday following their introductory press conference.

The chat covered a number of topics, including the duo’s desire to build a sustainable winner, fan engagement, the team’s roster, and their respect for former majority owner Michael Jordan, who retained a minority stake in the franchise and recently penned an open thank you letter following the finalized sale.

Here are some highlights from Boone’s interview, with is worth checking out in full for Hornets followers:

On Jordan initiating the conversation about selling the team last August:

The way he has dealt with us in this process — he told us a year ago, ‘You two guys are the right guys to buy the business,'” Schnall said. “You are basketball guys. I believe you can do this, and I want you to do this.’ And he stuck to his word. He was committed. That’s when we started down this path.”

How Schnall’s experience as a minority owner of the Hawks will impact his decision-making with Charlotte:

I think being in and around the NBA for eight years, watching how owners make decisions, how general managers make decisions, how the CBA works, how trades work, how you build a roster. And I’m a business builder as a living, and I take all that in to think about and work with Gabe, and the rest of the group on how do you build a team? What’s the strategy for building a team over the long term, and create success over the long term?

Obviously, I wasn’t making the decisions in Atlanta, but I was in the room. And we went through a rebuild. We made a decision to break it down. … Now you can debate if we did everything right. I don’t think we did. But we did a lot of things right. We had the right idea at that time.

“… I think all of that is information and Gabe and I spent a lot of time talking about it. Now that we are in the position of making those decisions or helping make those decisions, what are the right decisions to make at different times in order to try to build a sustainably successful franchise. And that’s what we are trying to do. We are not trying to win the title in one year and then be terrible two years later. Like any sustainable business, how do we build something that is a contender year-in and year-out.

Plotkin’s thoughts on the current state of the roster:

I think it will be a competitive team. When you look at the Eastern Conference, it’s pretty powerful at the top of the conference and there’s a bunch of teams somewhere in the middle parts where I think we can compete within. And we’ll see how that plays out. I think there are really a lot of good parts on the roster. Really, we liked what we saw out of Brandon (Miller) at summer league. His shot wasn’t falling, but that is not something that we are really worried about. He’s got great mechanics, he’s got a great release, he shot the ball incredibly well at Alabama.

And we just signed LaMelo (Ball) to the max. And he was playing great basketball last year before he got injured. Usually that third, fourth year is an inflection year and we just didn’t get to see it from him because he wasn’t really on the court. And we were just speaking with Mark Williams. When he came into the starting lineup, there was a palpable difference on how this team defended. Being a part of this team for the last four or five years, there’s been no rim protection.

And so to anchor yourself with a really high basketball IQ player on the back end of your defense, who can alter shots and shoot the basketball a little bit and rim run, that’s really important. The pieces are all there. We’ll see how Miles (Bridges) looks as he comes back. He was great the last season we had him, and there are other young parts that can elevate. And, of course, you have Gordon (Hayward) and Terry (Rozier), who are kind of consummate professionals. There’s a lot of pieces. They’re young and we think they will continue to develop.”

Southeast Notes: Hornets, J. Richardson, D. Robinson, Gallinari

Restricted free agent P.J. Washington and the Hornets remain at an impasse in contract negotiations and there have been “no indications” of that changing anytime soon, league sources tell Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer.

Boone examines the team’s roster and depth chart entering the 2023/24 season, writing that No. 2 overall pick Brandon Miller projects to come off the bench behind veterans Terry Rozier and Gordon Hayward.

Assuming Washington is on the roster, he’ll have the inside track for the starting power forward position, with Miles Bridges suspended for the first 10 games. However, Boone wonders if the Hornets will eventually pivot to Bridges if they get off to a slow start.

2021 first-round picks James Bouknight and Kai Jones will likely find minutes tough to come by, Boone adds.

Here’s more from the Southeast:

  • Appearing at the Heat‘s youth camp on Wednesday, returning swingman Josh Richardson said Damian Lillard is the best player he’s played against, as Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel relays. Lillard’s status, of course, has been one of the primary stories of the offseason, as the longtime Trail Blazers star requested a trade to Miami. Richardson, a free agent signee, said his game is malleable and he’s ready for whatever role he’s given. “I mean, you know how (head coach Erik Spoelstra) Spo is, he’s kind of like, ‘I can put you out there and do anything,’” Richardson said of not sweating how the roster or his role ultimately could shake out. “So it’s kind of what I’m good at. I’m kind of a jack of all trades. Our talk was good before, but I’ll guess we’ll see more concrete once the games get started.”
  • In a subscriber-only mailbag for The Sun Sentinel, Winderman notes that while losing Max Strus‘ shooting could make Duncan Robinson more valuable to the Heat, the latter certainly isn’t irreplaceable. Robinson’s name has popped up in trade rumors for several months and he could be used as a salary-matching piece in a possible Lillard deal.
  • Wizards forward Danilo Gallinari, who was acquired from Boston as part of the Kristaps Porzingis trade, says he’s looking forward to competing against the Celtics next season, according to Daniel Donabedian of Clutch Points. “I can’t wait to play against Boston,” Gallinari said on the Italian A Cresta Alta podcast. “When the schedule will be unveiled, I’ll put an X on the games we will play at Boston against the Celtics.” Gallinari grew up idolizing Celtics legend Larry Bird and hoped to win a title in Boston, but missed all of last season after tearing his ACL last year.

Hornets’ Kupchak: Miles Bridges’ Return ‘Polarizing Topic’

Hornets president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak admits that retaining Miles Bridges might alienate some of the team’s fan base, Roderick Boone of the Charlotte Observer writes.

Bridges missed all of last season after being charged with felony domestic violence. He agreed to a plea deal and was subsequently suspended by the NBA, who will require him to sit out the first 10 games of ’23/24.

“It obviously is a polarizing topic and not everyone may agree,” Kupchak said during a Tuesday press conference. “It’s a tough situation to be in. But we started out with the legal process in Los Angeles, worked through the legal process, worked through the NBA’s investigation, our relationship with Miles, our conversations with Miles. Remorse, accountability. And it’s the best we can do. But yes, I do understand not everyone may agree.”

Bridges is returning to the Hornets after signing a qualifying offer. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Bridges realizes that some fans don’t want him back in the league.

“People think I don’t deserve a second chance and I understand that,” Bridges said. “So that’s what I’m going to try to use this year to prove to everybody just the person I am. Who is Miles Bridges and it’s not what people think he is, you know?”

Bridges noted he’ll have to repair the damage he caused.

First of all, I just want to apologize to everybody for the pain and embarrassment that I caused everyone, but especially my family,” he said. “This year away, I’ve used it to prioritize just going to therapy and becoming the best person I can be — someone that my family and everybody here can be proud of.”

He believes he can make an impact with the current roster, which includes No. 2 overall pick Brandon Miller. “I feel like I can still fit in,” Bridges said.

As for the forward’s future, Kupchak pointed out that Charlotte will have the inside track on signing him next offseason.

“Upon the conclusion of the season, he will become an unrestricted free agent and he will have Bird rights,” Kupchak said. “So, in the NBA with Bird rights, that gives you an advantage when signing free agents. Beyond that, we will just have to wait and see how the season plays out. From a basketball point of view, putting aside the serious nature of what took place, we are excited to get him back. He had his best year ever two years ago, so we are excited to get him back. And whatever it is to deal with a year from now, we will deal with a year from now.”

Miles Bridges Signs Hornets’ Qualifying Offer

JULY 7: In a press release confirming that Bridges has signed his qualifying offer to return with the Hornets, president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak and Bridges himself both put out statements.

“Throughout this process, we have taken a measured and serious approach,” Kupchak said. “Several factors played a part in our decision to bring Miles back, including the conclusion of the legal process, the results of the NBA’s investigation and Miles’ commitment to counseling and community service. Our five-year relationship with Miles has allowed for open and honest dialogue. He has shown remorse, indicated that he has learned from this situation and expressed that it will not happen again. We look forward to Miles rejoining our team.”

Bridges statement reads as follows:

“I sincerely apologize for the pain, embarrassment and disappointment that last year’s incident caused so many people. Time away from the game allowed me to reflect, immerse myself in therapy and prioritize becoming a better person – someone my family and peers can be proud of. I’m grateful to the Hornets and the NBA community for giving me a second chance – most people don’t ever get one and I understand those questioning whether I deserve one. I will do everything I can to earn back the trust and confidence of my teammates, coaches, the Hornets organization and staff, fans, and the Charlotte community. I’m ready to return to work and can’t wait to rejoin my Hornets teammates.”

JULY 2: Restricted free agent Miles Bridges hasn’t been receiving the types of contract offers he was hoping for from the Hornets, so has signed his $7,921,300 qualifying offer in order to become an unrestricted free agent next year, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter links).

As ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets, signing the one-year qualifying offer would give Bridges the power to veto trades. However, if he were to approve a trade, the team that acquires him would lose his Bird rights.

Shams Charania of The Athletic hears (via Twitter) that a final contract offer was presented on Sunday before talks broke down, but he doesn’t clarify whether that offer came from Charlotte or Bridges’ camp — or perhaps both.

The 25-year-old forward sat out the entire 2022/23 season after facing a felony domestic violence charge. He agreed to a plea deal and was subsequently suspended by the NBA, who will require him to sit out the first 10 games of ’23/24.

Prior to that incident, Bridges was viewed as one of the top free agents of the 2022 class, having averaged 20.2 PPG, 7.0 RPG, and 3.8 APG on 49.1% shooting in 80 games (35.5 MPG) in ’21/22.

Leading into free agency, it was impossible to know exactly how the Hornets and the rest of the NBA would value the former lottery pick, who was selected 12th overall in the 2018 draft. As valuable as Bridges can be on the court, the repugnant behavior he was accused of away from it likely gave potential suitors pause about pursuing him to represent their franchise.

Clearly, the Hornets had the leverage in contract negotiations after Bridges missed the entire season, which made him ineligible to be signed-and-traded. None of the teams with cap room decided to pursue him, but maybe that will change in 2024 if he has a strong season without further legal trouble.

Bridges was No. 8 on our list of 2023’s top 50 free agents.

Fischer’s Latest: Bridges, Washington, Pelicans, Dosunmu, More

Prior to signing his $7.9MM qualifying offer, Miles Bridges was seeking around $25MM per year in talks with the Hornets, sources tell Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. However, Charlotte was unwilling to approach that figure, which is why Bridges’ representatives quickly opted for unrestricted free agency in 2024.

Bridges was ineligible to be included in a sign-and-trade because he wasn’t on the team’s roster last season, having missed all of 2022/23 after facing a felony domestic violence charge. He agreed to a plea deal and was subsequently suspended by the NBA, who will require him to sit out the first 10 games of ’23/24.

Prior to that incident, Bridges was viewed as one of the top free agents of the 2022 class, having averaged 20.2 PPG, 7.0 RPG, and 3.8 APG on 49.1% shooting in 80 games (35.5 MPG) in ’21/22. There was talk of him receiving $30MM annually in an offer sheet last year, according to Fischer, with the Pacers, Pistons and Grizzlies all linked to the 25-year-old forward.

Here’s more from Fischer’s latest story for Yahoo Sports:

  • Hornets restricted free agent forward P.J. Washington might have to wait a while in order to find the type of contract he’s seeking, and it might have to come via sign-and-trade. Marc Stein first reported that the former first-round pick is seeking around $18MM annually. According to Fischer, Washington is looking for $80MM over four years. Fischer writes that several agents seem to be pointing to Keldon Johnson‘s rookie scale extension with the Spurs as a benchmark of sorts in negotiations.
  • The Pelicans continue to gauge the trade market for reserve guard Kira Lewis Jr. and starting center Jonas Valanciunas, sources tell Fischer. Lewis is entering the final year of his rookie scale contract and could become a restricted free agent next summer, while Valanciunas’ $15.4MM deal is expiring.
  • Fischer hears the recent conversations between the Hawks and Raptors haven’t been very productive when it comes to a potential Pascal Siakam deal. On an unrelated note, Fischer also reports there’s optimism within Atlanta’s organization that the team will be able to extend Dejounte Murray.
  • The Raptors have expressed interest in Bulls guard Ayo Dosunmu, Fischer reports. However, it’s unclear if they’ll try to make a run at the restricted free agent via an offer sheet or sign-and-trade.
  • Like other reporters, Fischer has heard there’s mutual interest in a reunion between the Sixers and restricted free agent big man Paul Reed.

Free Agency Rumors: G. Williams, Hornets, VanVleet, Blazers, Tavares

The Hornets are mulling the possibility of an offer sheet for Celtics restricted free agent forward Grant Williams, sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). Williams has also drawn some interest from the Mavericks, according to Scotto.

The Hornets are currently operating as an over-the-cap team, which means they could offer up to the full $12.4MM mid-level exception in a deal for Williams. They have a potential path to creating cap room to make a stronger bid, but it would require renouncing the cap holds for multiple free agents, including their own RFA forwards P.J. Washington and Miles Bridges. The Hornets have also engaged in contract discussions with Washington, Scotto reports.

Here are a few more free agency notes and rumors from around the NBA:

  • The third and final season of Fred VanVleet‘s new three-year deal with the Rockets will be a team option, according to Jackson Gatlin of Locked on Rockets (Twitter link). A non-guaranteed third year makes the deal look considerably more team-friendly — and considerably more like the two-year offer the Rockets were originally said to be preparing for the veteran point guard.
  • Veteran center Edy Tavares, a second-round pick in 2014, has received a contract offer from the Trail Blazers, sources tell Donatas Urbonas of Tavares played just 13 games during his initial NBA stint, but is apparently earning another look after several strong seasons with Real Madrid, with whom he has won two EuroLeague titles and earned three All-EuroLeague First Team nods. However, Tavares’ contract includes a significant buyout, which may preclude a move stateside, Urbonas explains. His deal with Real Madrid will expire in 2024 if he doesn’t sign an extension before then.
  • Donte DiVincenzo drew “strong” interest from three other teams during his free agency before he agreed to sign with New York, reports Ian Begley of (Twitter link). While DiVincenzo’s Villanova connection to Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart was a factor in his decision to join the Knicks, he also believes his new team can be a contender. “He wants to win and has a great opportunity to do so in New York,” a source said to Begley.

Eastern FA Rumors: Kuzma, Kyrie, Bridges, Crowder, Sixers

Free agent forward Kyle Kuzma is seeking a contract “well above the mid-level exception,” according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, but it’s unclear which cap-room team might give him that sort of offer, especially if the Rockets and Pacers use their space on other players.

As Fischer writes, the Jazz were viewed as a legitimate suitor for Kuzma, but that option is almost certainly off the table following Utah’s deal for John Collins. People around the league have begun to consider it increasingly likely that Kuzma could re-sign with the Wizards, according to Fischer. While the Wizards are in the process of reshaping their roster, they’ll have Kuzma’s Bird rights and could view him as a future tradable asset as long as they don’t overpay him.

Here are more free agent rumors from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Following up on a report stating that Kyrie Irving had the Heat on his list of teams to meet with in free agency, Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald (Twitter link) cites a source who says the Heat have no meeting scheduled with the star point guard. Irving will, however, meet with the Rockets, sources tell Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • Interestingly, Fischer writes that the Hornets “don’t appear to have a straightforward path to re-sign” restricted free agent forward Miles Bridges. According to Fischer, Bridges and his representatives have broached the idea of Charlotte pulling its qualifying offer to make him unrestricted. Based on Fischer’s report, it sounds like Bridges’ camp may not feel confident about its leverage in talks with the Hornets entering the summer. The forward isn’t eligible to be signed-and-traded because he wasn’t on Charlotte’s roster last season.
  • Although Jae Crowder is considered likely to re-sign with the Bucks, the veteran forward has also drawn interest from the Heat, league sources tell Fischer.
  • While the Sixers may be fairly quiet at the start of free agency, it’s possible it won’t take the team long to come to an agreement with restricted free agent Paul Reed, according to Kyle Neubeck of The team’s odds of bringing back Georges Niang, Jalen McDaniels, or Shake Milton don’t appear as strong. A source tell Neubeck that Niang may get “a nice chunk of money” from a rival suitor on the first day of free agency. Milton is unlikely to return to Philadelphia, while McDaniels’ free agency could take some time to play out, Neubeck adds.

Free Agent Rumors: Brown, Lakers, Bridges, Cavs, Heat, Love

The Lakers are “increasingly confident” about their chances of signing Bruce Brown using the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, multiple sources tell Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

The Denver Post first reported on Wednesday that the Lakers have “significant” interest in Brown. A subsequent report suggested that the Nuggets‘ free agent guard may receive offers worth more than the mid-level, which would be virtually impossible for L.A. to match. However, Buha’s latest report suggests the Lakers still feel good about their odds of landing the versatile guard.

As Buha details, there’s a path for the Lakers to re-sign D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, and Rui Hachimura while also using the full mid-level exception, which would hard-cap their team salary at approximately $172MM. That path would require the club to decline Malik Beasley‘s $16.5MM team option and waive Mohamed Bamba, whose $10.3MM salary is non-guaranteed.

Here are a few more free agent rumblings from around the NBA:

  • The Cavaliers have interest in Hornets restricted free agent Miles Bridges, sources tell Chris Fedor of However, with only the mid-level exception to offer, Cleveland is a long shot to land Bridges, given that Charlotte would match a mid-level offer sheet “in an instant,” Fedor writes. Sources tell that Bridges’ camp is expecting a significantly higher per-year salary.
  • Elsewhere within his look at the Cavaliers‘ options in free agency, Fedor says Max Strus would be near the top of the team’s wish list if he’s attainable with the mid-level exception, which he may not be. Fedor adds that Cleveland is in the market for more forward depth in addition to a two-way wing, naming Georges Niang as a possible target.
  • The Heat and Kevin Love have mutual interest in working out a new deal, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Miami only holds Love’s Non-Bird rights, so he’d likely have to accept a minimum-salary contract or something slightly above that if he wants to return.
  • In an entertaining piece for, Howard Beck speaks to a number of anonymous team executives about their expectations for the NBA’s 2023 offseason.

Hornets Extend QOs to Washington, Bridges, Maledon

The Hornets have made qualifying offers to P.J. Washington, Miles Bridges and Theo Maledon, the team announced (via Twitter). All three players will be restricted when free agency begins on Friday.

Washington will be a highly sought-after target on the free agent market, and extending the QO gives Charlotte the opportunity to match any offer he receives. The 24-year-old power forward is coming off his best NBA season, averaging 15.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 73 games. His qualifying offer will be $8,486,620.

Charlotte is reportedly interested in bringing back Bridges, who sat out sat out all of last season after pleading no contest to felony domestic violence. General manager Mitch Kupchak declined to comment on Bridges at a post-draft press conference, but rival front offices believe he’ll re-sign with the Hornets. Bridges’ qualifying offer is worth $7,744,600.

Maledon appeared in 44 games for Charlotte after signing a two-way contract shortly before the start of last season. His qualifying offer is equivalent to another one-year, two-way deal.

Hornets Notes: Miller, Ball, Bridges, Washington, Free Agency

For all the outside speculation about who the Hornets would take with their No. 2 pick, general manager Mitch Kupchak says the team never wavered in its commitment to Brandon Miller, writes Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. Kupchak admits serious consideration was given to G League Ignite star Scoot Henderson, as both players were brought in Monday for a second workout and a meeting with team owner Michael Jordan. Miller solidified his status at that session, Kupchak confirmed in a post-draft press conference Thursday night.

“It wasn’t the easiest of decisions, but Brandon was our favorite all along,” he said. “A lot of spirited discussion the last three or four days, which I welcome, and I think it’s good for the basketball department to discuss pros and cons, pluses and minuses, argue a little bit. So, obviously, our opinion from the beginning did not change.”

The Hornets were attracted to Miller because he’s a better fit alongside point guard LaMelo Ball and he gives the team another outside shooting threat, connecting at 38.4% from long distance at Alabama this season. Although Charlotte was firm in its decision to take the freshman forward, he wasn’t told before the pick was announced by Commissioner Adam Silver.

“I found out literally when they were calling my name,” Miller said. “I was still on the phone. My reaction was a lot of excitement, smiles, hugs and handshakes. I knew my mom was going to cry, she was going to shed a tear. But there’s nothing wrong with crying, I think it happens to the best.”

There’s more from Charlotte:

  • Kupchak also offered an update on Ball, who underwent surgery on March 1 for a fractured right ankle, Boone states in a separate story. “His rehab, the bone was probably 100% healed six weeks ago,” Kupchak said. “In terms of MRIs and X-rays, it’s 100% healed. He’s been on the basketball court for four to six weeks, running, shooting, jumping. He has not scrimmaged yet. He’s not played one-on-one, two-on-two. He could, but we are not even July 1 yet. What’s the rush? So, he’s … I can’t say ahead of schedule. This is exactly what the doctor expected, so we are good.” 
  • Kupchak refused to talk about the possible return of Miles Bridges, who sat out all of last season after pleading no contest to felony domestic violence, Boone adds. However, Kupchak told reporters that re-signing free agent forward P.J. Washington remains a priority for the offseason.
  • The Hornets will try to find a veteran leader for their young team in free agency, tweets Mike Kaye of The Charlotte Observer. Kupchak said there are players on the roster who can eventually grow into leaders, but he doesn’t see anyone who’s ready for that role yet.