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Indiana Pacers won’t pursue Miles Bridges even after losing out on Deandre Ayton

Jason Burgos
indiana pacers, miles bridges
Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers are not expected to jump into the Miles Bridges hunt — even after losing out on Deandre Ayton — due to the Charlotte Hornets star’s recent arrest.

On Thursday, the Pacers went big game hunting in NBA free agency and looked to poised to hit the target on Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton. The four-year veteran and the team had reportedly agreed to terms on a historic offer sheet. It was a contract that seemed large enough to force the Suns to let the player they drafted with the first overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft walk away.

However, to the surprise of many around the league — since Phoenix was previously unwilling to give Ayton a max deal when he became eligible for one last summer — they matched the Pacers’ offer. It left Indiana empty-handed and still with a lot of available cap space.

Related: Ayton agrees to historic $133M offer sheet with Pacers, Suns ‘expected’ to match

With Ayton off the board, Miles Bridges now moves up to the top spot as the best player left on the free agent market. But the only reason he is there is due to the fact that he turned any and all interested teams away with a June arrest on charges of felony domestic violence. And while the restricted free agent would be a great addition in Indy, don’t expect the team to use that available money on the troubled 24-year-old.

Indiana Pacers and most NBA teams are out of the Miles Bridges market

indiana pacers, miles bridges
Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

On a Friday edition of “Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective,” ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst mentioned that Bridges is still a notable player on the market but in a weird place. “There’s another guy left that no one’s talking about but he’s sort of in limbo.” It was a point that fellow ESPN NBA contributor Tim MacMahon added on to by reported that Bridges’ will stay in limbo for the foreseeable future.

“Miles Bridges will not be signed by anybody, anytime soon.”

Tim MacMahon on Miles Bridges free agent market

During the podcast, Windhorst added that the Hornets have not yet pulled their qualifying offer for Bridges. Something they had until earlier this week to do, and would have been officially announced if they did.

That offer was for only $7.9 million. Three times less than what Bridges could have possibly gotten on the market before his arrest. Unless that situation is resolved and Bridges’ name is completely cleared, the four-year veteran may have to settle for that offer if he is allowed to play in 2022-2023.