The Charlotte Hornets have released a brief statement in response to the reports that Miles Bridges was arrested on Wednesday evening.
Charlotte Hornets forward Miles Bridges has been charged with felony domestic violence by an unidentified woman in Los Angeles. Bridges turned himself into LAPD authorities on Wednesday in response to the incident that occurred on Tuesday, June 28th according to reports that surfaced late Wednesday evening. Bridges was released on $130,000 bail less than 24 hours from when the NBA is set to kick off its free agency period on June 30th at 6 pm.
With the strides that Miles Bridges made last season recording career highs with 20 points per game to go along with 7 rebounds and nearly 4 assists Bridges was in line to cash in on his performance on the hardwood this season.
However, Bridges has not been able to stay out of the news for all the wrong reasons. It started with him launching his mouth piece into the crowd as he was ejected from the Hornets play in game against the Atlanta Hawks. A couple months later Bridges posted a photo of what appeared to be a pink liquid substance in a Styrofoam cup which raised an eyebrow for many NBA fans and analysts across social media. Now, with this most recent episode occurring less than 48 hours before Miles was set to hit the NBA free agent market for the first time in his career it seems he has raised more questions than answers for any NBA front office considering investing north of $100 million into the 24 year old.
What does this mean for Miles Bridges' Restricted Free Agency?
This is unfortunately not the first incident of domestic abuse involving a current player in the NBA. In recent years there has been fines and suspensions for Jaxson Hayes, DeMarcus Cousins and Darren Collison. You don't need to look much further back than to 2014 when the Charlotte Bobcats very own Jeff Taylor ended up being charged, he received a 24 game suspension and was out of the league after that season.
However, none of these allegations came while the player was a free agent, there is no track record of how this might play out. For any team to sign Bridges without there being public clarity on this arrest would be an unethical mistake. Any such move would rightfully alienate fans, staff and launch a media backlash. Unless the charges are dropped, Bridges restricted free agency could linger deep into the summer and even training camp depending on the speed of the courts. Even if Bridges were to be charged or cleared in August/September, at that point most teams would have likely used up their CAP space and would have no room to sign Bridges to a max offer sheet. Even if Bridges was cleared or charged in time for the season would Charlotte even want to bring him back now? This is a decision only ownership can make.
Another option is Charlotte could choose to to withdraw the qualifying offer, making Bridges an unrestricted free agent. This wouldn't give the team anymore CAP space to use on free agents, but it would give the the flexibility to use the full MLE ($10.2 million) in free agency without the luxury tax being an issue. It would also create more financial flexibility in future off-seasons.
With so many question marks over Bridges how does this effect Charlotte's potential other moves with Cody Martin's RFA, pursuing free agents and trades? It's not like the rest of the NBA is going to wait for clarity of the Bridges situation, free agency starts July 1st and Charlotte's plans have surely been ripped up and thrown into the air. The Hornets are in a sticky situation, not for the first time this off-season
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