Charlotte Hornets forward Miles Bridges is expected to be one of the most-coveted restricted NBA free agents on the market this summer.
The former Michigan State star is coming off a brilliant fourth season in the NBA that saw him average north of 20 points per game while playing great ball on both ends of the court.
Below, we look at five ideal landing spots for Miles Bridges during NBA free agency this summer.
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Orlando Magic throw Miles Bridges max contract offer
Coming off yet another down season, Orlando is expected to have the most cap room in the NBA this summer. Typically, a team in this situation wouldn’t spend a whole lot in free agency. But look for front office head Jeff Weltman to be aggressive with that money.
The Magic have a solid young core group in Franz Wagner, Jalen Suggs, Cole Anthony and Wendell Carter Jr. It will also have a top lottery pick in the 2022 NBA Draft and two future first-round picks from the Chicago Bulls. Why not make a move for the 24-year-old Bridges?
- Miles Bridges stats (2021-22): 20.2 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 3.8 APG, 49% shooting
Despite being 6-foot-6, Bridges has played power forward throughout his Hornets career. He could slide into that spot next to Carter Jr. and Wagner in the frontcourt with Suggs and Anthony doing their thin in the backcourt. That’s a solid five with more reinforcements to come.
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Portland Trail Blazers make a big time move for Miles Bridges
Envision a core three of Damian Lillard, Anfernee Simons and Bridges in the Pacific Northwest. This would be a great building block for new full-time general manager Joe Cronin after he set Portland up to be active following a disastrous 2021-22 season.
Portland likely wouldn’t be able to sign Bridges outright as he’d be looking for a near-max contract. Even then, the team could entice Charlotte into a sign-and-trade. Somone like solid wing Josh Hart and a couple second-round picks could make it worth the Hornets’ while.
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Detroit Pistons swing big with Miles Bridges
Pretty much in the same situation as Orlando in that they have a young core and cap room to work with, Pistons general manager Troy Weaver could opt to make a move for Bridges. He could also potentially do so while still having money to sign veteran contributors on the NBA free agent market.
The idea here would be to team Bridges up with Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart in the frontcourt. With 2021 No. 1 pick Cade Cunningham doing his thing in the backcourt, Detroit would have a nice core group as well as a high lottery pick in 2022 to build around.
From Charlotte’s perspective, acquiring an underrated forward in Jerami Grant and veteran big man Kelly Olynyk would help the team ascend the Eastern Conference Playoff standings after losing out in the play-in tournament a season ago.
Minnesota Timberwolves pair Miles Bridges up with Anthony Edwards
Fresh off a surprise playoff appearance, the Wolves know that Edwards is their franchise cornerstone. He’s looked every bit the part of a star in two seasons with Minnesota. It’s led to speculation that D’Angelo Russell could be moved.
Surprisingly, the Timberwolves have missed the two-way presence of Andrew Wiggins at the three. Finding a dramatic upgrade at that position has to be key for vice president Sachin Gupta. That’s where Bridges would come into play.
On the other hand, Minnesota doesn’t have the cap room to sign Bridges outright and the Hornets would have no interest in Russell with LaMelo Ball on the roster. Perhaps, they could offer up high-scoring wing Malik Beasley and a youngster in Jaden McDaniels to entice Charlotte. The contracts would work in this hypothetical sign-and-trade if Bridges takes less than the max like Lonzo Ball did with the Chicago Bulls last summer.
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Atlanta Hawks find Trae Young a running partner in Miles Bridges
After a disappointing 2021-22 season that saw them lose in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, this offseason is going to be a tad different for the Hawks.
“We made the decision last year to run the same group back. We probably should’ve tried to upgrade as opposed to stay status quo. The way the season played out, we’re certainly going to try to upgrade the roster moving forward into next season.”Atlanta Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk on offseason plans
Last summer was different for Atlanta in that it was coming off a surprise appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals with Trae Young leading the way. It’s now clear that the supporting cast behind Young has left a lot to be desired. Getting him another running partner must be in the cards here. That’s where Miles Bridges comes into play.
He could work with John Collins and Clint Capela in the frontcourt. And while Atlanta doesn’t have the cap room to sign him outright, offering up young big Onyeka Okongwu as a way for Charlotte to take on the contract of either Danilo Gallinari or Bogdan Bogdanovic could work.