Hornets rumors: Charlotte could struggle to retain key free agent

Miles Bridges, Charlotte Hornets. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Miles Bridges, Charlotte Hornets. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /

The future of Miles Bridges has been a discussion point for Charlotte Hornets fans over the past 12 months following a domestic violence incident in the summer of 2022. Bridges is expected to return to the NBA in the upcoming season. Currently, the Hornets have team control over Bridges’ future, with the front office has extended the 25-year-old  a qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent.

Nevertheless, it would appear Bridges’ future with the Hornets franchise isn’t set in stone. According to June 30 report by Yahoo Sports Jake Fischer, Charlotte has ‘no straightforward path’ to keep the explosive guard with the franchise.

"“The Hornets don’t appear to have a straightforward path to re-sign Miles Bridges,” Fischer wrote. “The 25-year-old forward missed all of 2023-24 following a domestic violence incident last summer. Bridges and his representation at Klutch Sports have even broached the subject of Charlotte pulling his qualifying offer to make Bridges an unrestricted free agent, sources said.”"

Bridges last played for the Hornets during the 2021-22 season, where he averaged career highs in points (20.2), rebounds (7.0), and assists (3.8) while shooting the rock at a 59% clip from two-point range, 33.1% clip from deep, and 80.2% clip from the free-throw line.

If the Hornets decide to pull their qualifying offer, Bridges will become an unrestricted free agent, and roughly $14 million will come off the team’s cap. However, Charlotte is already over the cap and boasts the Non-Taxpayer MLE, so there would be a minimal benefit in the Hornets allowing Bridges to become an unrestricted free agent.

As such, it’s likely that Charlotte keeps control of Bridges’ future over the next week or two before deciding whether to match any offer sheet or to lose one of their most talented players with nothing coming back in return. Of course, the front office will also likely weigh up the negative press associated with Bridges’ return to the team, and that could impact their decision-making as they look to build a team capable of making a push for the playoffs.

The Hornets have a big decision to make but don’t expect them to make it until somebody forces their hand.

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