Charlotte Hornets forward Miles Bridges apologized Tuesday for “the pain and embarrassment” caused by the domestic violence investigation that kept him out of the league last season.
Bridges spoke publicly for the first time since signing a one-year, $7.9 million deal to return to the Hornets and vowed to rebuild relationships with his teammates and become more active in the Charlotte community.
He pleaded no contest to a crime in November based on allegations that he had assaulted his children’s mother in front of her. The 25-year-old was sentenced to three years probation.
“I want to apologize to everyone for the pain and embarrassment I’ve caused everyone, especially my family,” Bridges said. “This year, I’ve made it my priority to get into therapy and become the best person I can be — someone my family and everyone here can be proud of.”
After a lengthy investigation, the NBA imposed a 30-game suspension earlier this offseason but concluded he will only miss 10 games at the start of the upcoming season, after giving him 20 game served credits after he was 82 last season had to sit out games.
Bridges thanked the Hornets organization and the NBA for giving him a second chance, adding, “A lot of people don’t get second chances and I want to use this second chance to prove to everyone that I’m the same boy like you.” designed five years ago.”
Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak said outgoing majority owner Michael Jordan and new owners Gabe Plotkin and Rick Schnall unanimously agreed to re-sign Bridges.
Kupchak said that decision was based on separate investigations by the NBA and the Los Angeles Police Department, as well as the team’s personal five-year relationship with Bridges. Drafted in the first round in 2018, Bridges played four seasons at Charlotte.
“You have to make a judgement, don’t you?” said Kupchak. “Is that sincere remorse? Is that sincere responsibility? That’s not easy to judge. We took all of those factors into account and ultimately gave him a second chance.”
Kupchak said he was aware the decision might not go down well with some fans.
“Obviously it’s a polarizing issue,” Kupchak said. “Perhaps not everyone agrees. It’s a difficult situation.”
Bridges said he understands he needs to win back the trust of everyone involved, from fans to teammates to members of the Hornets organization.
“Yes, I understand that some people think I don’t deserve a second chance,” Bridges said. “So I’m trying to use this year to prove to everyone who I am. Who is Miles Bridges? It’s not what people think of him.”
Kupchak added: “He understands that while his teammates are happy to have him back, some confidence needs to be regained.”
Bridges declined to go into details other than saying he continues to see therapy and is on good terms with his young children.
Bridges’ NBA career took an abrupt turn last summer.
After a 2021–22 career season in which he averaged 20.2 points and seven rebounds, which is team-best, Bridges looked likely to sign a multi-year deal worth more than $100 million as a restricted free agent. But just days before the free hand began, his children’s mother posted vivid photos and descriptions of alleged physical abuse at the hands of Bridges on her Instagram page.
Days later, he was charged with three counts of domestic violence.
The big contract offer never came and Bridges didn’t play at all last season when the NBA launched an investigation.
Signing the Hornets’ qualifying offer qualifies Bridges to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, giving him more flexibility in his next destination.
The Hornets will still have the Bridges’ Bird rights, giving them a competitive edge over other teams as they can offer him a longer contract that’s worth more money. Bridges said Tuesday that he would like to stay with the Hornets.
But Kupchak said that would be a discussion for another day.
“We’ll have to wait and see how that develops,” said Kupchak. “From a basketball perspective, aside from the seriousness of what happened, we’re happy to have him back. He had his best year ever two years ago. Whatever we have to do in a year, we’ll deal with it in a year.
Charlotte recently picked Alabama forward Brandon Miller as the #2 pick in the NBA draft and he could serve as Bridges’ eventual replacement.
Reporting by The Associated Press.
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