The NBA announced their Miles Bridges punishment stemming from his arrest and plea agreement. Bridges was suspended for 30 games, with 20 games deemed to be already served this season. That means he will be suspended for the first 10 games of the 2023-2024 season. According to a report by Will Kunkel, the Charlotte Hornets will look to re-sign the restricted free agent. His free agent status means that even if another team attempts to sign Bridges, the Hornets have the ability to match any offer.
Bridges was arrested on domestic violence and child abuse charges in late June. He later entered a plea of “no contest”, where he agreed to a punishment assessed by the district attorney without admitting fault. All but one count of harming a child’s parent were dismissed. Before being arrested, Bridges was coming off the best professional season of his life. In 2021-2022, he had a career-high in points (20.2), rebounds (7.0), and assists (3.8).
What would bringing back Miles Bridges mean to him and to the Hornets?
Bridges was due to cash in on his career year when he was arrested, and his future suddenly became in flux. The victim of Bridges’ assault, his wife and mother of his children, took to social media shortly after the arrest to detail the extent of her injuries, while also intimating that this was not the first time she had suffered at the hands of Bridges.
It will always feel hollow to speak about the appropriate number of games to miss when a player is accused of a violent crime. There are issues bigger than sports, and the safety of others is one of them. But the NBA is a basketball business and can’t enforce any penalty harsher than suspension/expulsion.
As a part of the agreed-upon punishment, Bridges was sentenced to 52 weeks of domestic violence counseling and 52 weeks of parenting classes. Bridges getting help to rehabilitate his thinking and actions is one thing, rehabilitating his image will be quite another.
From a basketball point of view, Bridges would be a huge off-season addition to the team. A proven scorer that (until last season) hadn’t played in fewer than 65 games would be a sight for sore eyes for a team that finished dead last in offensive efficiency and couldn’t stay healthy for any extended period. Additionally, Bridges had a connection on and off the court with LaMelo Ball. Making the situation more comfortable for the star player is always a consideration.
There are non-basketball things to consider as well, even while conceding that the Hornets are in the business of hoops. If Bridges is brought back, how will the formerly beloved high-flyer be received? What, if anything, does re-signing him say about the franchise that may be up for sell soon? Is it in Bridges best interest to remain in Charlotte, or would it be better for his recovery to be in a new place? So far, the Hornets themselves haven’t expressed much sentiment one way or the other.
It is easy to see this issue as it relates to Bridges. He is the ones fans have cheered for these past seasons. The one with whom they are familiar but remembering that there were victims involved in this attack is paramount. A woman was severely beaten, and children were present to see their mother injured. If Bridges returns to the Hornets, there will be hard questions and more than a bit of awkwardness the next time he makes a highlight reel play.