Miles Bridges is one of the most coveted free agents this offseason, coming off a breakout year with the Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets GM Mitch Kupchak made it clear the team wants to bring back Bridges despite reports suggesting otherwise.
Speaking via ESPN, Brian Windhorst said Monday, Bridges will not be offered max money by the Hornets, and he might choose to find a better deal on the open market once he officially become a free agent on June 30.
“As an organization we love Miles and we’re going to bring him back. He’s been great for the franchise and I believe with his work ethic he’ll only get better.” Kupchak said recently in Steve Clifford’s opening press conference as Charlotte’s coach.
As a restricted free agent, the Hornets can match any offer on the 24-years-old explosive forward, but given the team’s history and their current cap situation, there was genuine reason to wonder if they’d match a max or near-max offer that might come his way.
A max contract for Bridges would entail the Hornets paying the emerging star more than $30 million per season. Last season, Bridges averaged career-highs across the board, including 20.2 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 3.8 assists in 35.5 minutes per game.
If they match Bridges’ demands, then the most likely scenario seems to be pointing towards exploring the market on other players in their roster. The Hornets will have to pay LaMelo Ball in a couple of seasons.
Players like Gordon Hayward may be primed to change teams the following year, with Bridges likely getting one of the two maximum slots in the Hornets’ roster. Charlotte had reportedly interest in offloading Hayward’s $30M contract during the 2022 NBA Draft.