Tuesday, January 31 2023
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Miles Bridges was headed for a possible max contract as a restricted free agent over the summer. Coming off of a season in which he topped 20 points per game at the critical small forward position, Bridges was a candidate for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award and considered one of the league’s better young players. However, just before the beginning of free agency, Bridges’ wife, Mychelle Johnson, posted pictures on Instagram showing her with severe bruises across her face and body. No NBA team signed him in the offseason, and Bridges wound up pleading no contest to the charges. He will serve three years of probation, but not face any jail time.

This has caught the attention of multiple NBA teams interested in potentially bringing Bridges back to the league. According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Los Angeles Lakers and Detroit Pistons are among the teams monitoring the situation. There are still a number of obstacles facing Bridges before he can return to the court, though.

First of all, the NBA is still conducting its own investigation into the situation and could levy its own punishment. There is also Bridges’ contractual status with the Charlotte Hornets to consider. While Bridges is a free agent, the Hornets tendered him a qualifying offer earlier in the offseason allowing them to maintain the right to match any offer he signs as a restricted free agent. 

That qualifying offer expired in October, but the fact that the Hornets never rescinded it means that he is still a restricted free agent. In other words, no matter what the Lakers, Pistons or any other team offers, the Hornets can match it and keep Bridges. The Pistons have only the $5.4 million cap room mid-level exception to offer. The Lakers can’t even go above the minimum.

In pure basketball terms, the Lakers and Pistons make sense for Bridges. Detroit was considered a possible fit for him when he was looking to sign a max contract. His athleticism would fit in well with the other young Pistons. The Lakers completely lack depth on the wing, so adding a top young player at that position for pennies on the dollar would surely help them on the court.

But considering what Bridges has been accused of, fans of any team that signs him would surely protest the move. For now, nothing appears imminent on the Bridges front, but when a player as talented as he becomes available, teams tend to overlook off-court issues.

Source: CBSSports.com

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