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NEW YORK — Forward Miles Bridges and coach Ime Udoka did not participate in any NBA games in the 2022-23 season. Bridges, the NBA and the Charlotte Hornets reached "a mutual agreement" for the restricted free agent to sit out last season as he was eventually convicted on felony domestic violence, for which he pleaded no contest in November. Udoka, suspended and eventually let go by the Boston Celtics after an inappropriate relationship with a team employee, has not coached since the 2022 NBA Finals.  

Now both Bridges and Udoka are on their way back to the league. Bridges will serve a 10 games of a 30-game suspension to start next season, but he is now is eligible to renew his free agency and sign a new contract this offseason. Udoka already has been hired by the Houston Rockets.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver discussed both situations Tuesday in an interview with the Associated Press Sports Editors. He explained that neither Bridges nor Udoka had been suspended for the full season by the NBA itself, with Bridges' suspension being partially meted out next fall and Udoka's penalty coming via the Celtics.

"The process (with Bridges) was that we worked with his representatives and the players association that he sat out the entire season," Silver said. "And so we felt, on the balance, that because he had sat out an entire season and not been paid for an entire season, that we thought in fairness that would give him partial credit, I think, for having sat out that season."

Silver explained that the NBA viewed this missed season for Bridges, a 25-year-old who averaged 20.2 points and 7.0 rebounds per game in 2021-22 for Charlotte, as a punishment because he'd "lost out on millions of dollars" and a year of his career. He is eligible and likely to sign a new contract this offseason but will miss the first 10 games of the season because of the "partial credit" decision on his 30-game suspension.

Bridges was arrested June 29, 2022, for allegedly assaulting his partner in front of their children, and he was released after posting $130,000 bail. In July 2022, he was formally charged with one felony count of injuring a child's parent and two felony counts of child abuse under circumstances or conditions likely to cause great bodily injury or death. He initially pled not guilty to all three counts but ended up pleading no contest to a domestic violence charge.

"It's still the most significant punishment we've wielded for a domestic violence case," Kathy Behrens, president of social responsibility and player programs for the NBA, said in the same interview session. "He has begun a pretty robust series of court-mandated counseling sessions so I think he's certainly doing, in regards to that, the work that he needs to do. ... It's a pretty significant punishment for him."

Details around Udoka's case have been less clear, for reason. Silver explained that non-disclosure agreements signed by people in the Celtics organization had led to much of the case being kept out of the public view, and no criminal or civil charges have been filed in public court documents against Udoka. What has been reported was that Udoka used crude language toward a subordinate before beginning an inappropriate workplace relationship with her.

The Celtics, whom Udoka had led to the 2022 NBA Finals in his only season as a head coach, conducted a lengthy review before ultimately cutting ties with the former seven-year NBA player. 

"We had access to the investigation by the Celtics," Silver said. "The Celtics decided that he should be suspended for a year. We reviewed that and determined it was fair under those circumstances. And then when other teams — and it wasn't just the Rockets — asked us if he would be able to coach next season, we said he would be."

Silver said he was not certain that the Rockets had reviewed the entire investigation, but that their lawyers had been in touch with NBA lawyers as part of due diligence before the hire.