After his agent – Rich Paul – talked him out of accepting a (reportedly $60 million) contract extension last offseason, Miles Bridges is set to earn far more as a restricted free agent this summer.
Maybe not with the Hornets, though.
Shams Charania of The Athletic:
Rival executives expect Hornets restricted free agent Miles Bridges to command a maximum — or near-max — deal in July, and sources said there’s hesitancy from Charlotte to match a max sheet.
A max offer sheet projects to be worth about $131 million over four years. The Hornets should be hesitant about matching.
They should also probably match.
Bridges hasn’t yet proven to be worth quite that much. But he’s a 24-year-old athletic and versatile forward who has shown a strong track record of improvement and has clear areas where he can keep developing (defense, 3-point shooting). Charlotte has no good avenue for acquiring another player of his caliber. Even if letting Miles go, the Hornets wouldn’t project to have major cap space and should be too good to land a high lottery seed.
Charlotte recently made the controversial decision to let Kemba Walker leave rather than give him a big contract. That paid off and should give the Hornets some benefit of the doubt. But Bridges is so much younger than Walker. Just because the cheap move worked before doesn’t mean it’s the right move again.
In fairness to Charlotte, this report might not actually reflect the team’s plan. Bridges has incentive to convince other teams the Hornets might not match a max offer sheet. If everyone believes Charlotte will match, other teams will hesitate to waste their time with a Bridges offer sheet. This report is practically begging teams to try to poach Bridges – which, offer sheet matched or not, will make him richer.