The Charlotte Hornets are denying recent reports suggesting that they've been in contract negotiations with restricted free agent Miles Bridges. Last month, ESPN reported that the , and that both sides were optimistic that a deal could be agreed to in the near future.
However, the Hornets came out with a statement via the Charlotte Observer refuting that report, saying "We have not been engaged in contract negotiations with Miles Bridges."
Bridges, who has not played this season, was arrested on June 29 and later 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. In November,to one felony count of injuring a child's parent and was given three years of probation and avoided jail time. Bridges is also required to do 52 weeks of both parenting classes and domestic violence counseling and 100 hours of community service.
As a result of Bridges' arrest and court case he went unsigned this past offseason. When asked if there was a possibility that Charlotte would bring Bridges back next season, the team declined to comment, per the Observer. While the Hornets are denying that they've had contract negotiations with Bridges, The Athletic's Shams Charania reported in late December that other teams have been "monitoring the situation," including the Los Angeles Lakers and Detroit Pistons. But because Charlotte never rescinded the qualifying offer it gave Bridges over the summer, he remains a restricted free agent, allowing the Hornets to match any offer he receives from another team.
If Bridges does sign with a team, the expectation is that he will receive a suspension from the league, but the length of it remains unclear. The longest suspension the league has handed out for domestic violence was 24 games for Jeffery Taylor, who also played for the Hornets, during the 2014-15 season.
A former lottery pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, Bridges was expected to receive a lucrative deal from the Hornets leading up to last summer's offseason. He was the team's leading scorer a season ago, averaging a career-high 20.2 points, seven rebounds and 3.8 assists. Now, though, with the Hornets denying that they've been in discussion with him about a contract, it remains to be seen what team -- if any -- will sign him.