Miles Bridges did not appear in any games during the 2022-23 NBA season and was the subject of a domestic violence investigation.
On Tuesday, the Charlotte Hornets forward broke his silence and publicly apologized for the «hurt and embarrassment» he caused. The 25-year-old signed a one-year, $7.9 million contract to return to Charlotte, where he vowed to become a positive part of the community.
In November, Bridges pleaded no contest to the felony charge stemming from allegations that he assaulted the mother of his children in front of them. He was sentenced to three years probation.
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«I want to apologize to everyone for the pain and embarrassment that I have caused everyone, especially my family,» Bridges said. «This year, I used to prioritize going to therapy and becoming the best person I can be, someone my family and everyone here can be proud of.»
As a result of their investigation, the NBA suspended Bridges for 30 games. The league announced his decision in April. But, the league ruled that 20 games are «done» since Bridges missed all of last season.
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Therefore, Miles will sit out the first 10 games of next season.
Bridges thanked the Hornets organization and the NBA for giving him a second chance, adding that «a lot of people don’t get a second chance, and I want to use this second chance to show everyone that I’m the same kid as you.» written five years ago.
Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak said outgoing majority owner Michael Jordan and incoming owners Gabe Plotkin and Rick Schnall gave their unanimous approval to re-sign Bridges.
Kupchak said the decision was based on separate investigations by the NBA and the Los Angeles Police Department, as well as the team’s five-year personal relationship with Bridges. Bridges was selected in the first round of the 2018 draft and has played four seasons in Charlotte.
«You have to make a judgment, right?» Kupchak said. «Is this sincere remorse? Is this sincere responsibility? It’s not an easy thing to judge. We took all those factors into consideration and finally gave it a second chance.»
Kupchak said he realizes the decision may not sit well with some fans.
«Obviously it’s a polarizing issue,» Kupchak said. «Maybe not everyone agrees. It’s a tough situation to be in.»
Bridges said he understands he will need to win back the trust of everyone involved, from fans to teammates to members of the Hornets organization.
«Yes, I understand that some people don’t think I deserve a second chance,» Bridges said. «That’s why I’m trying to use this year to show everyone who I am. Who is Miles Bridges? He’s not what people think he is.»
Kupchak added: «He understands that while his teammates are happy to have him back, there is some confidence that needs to be built up.»
Bridges declined to elaborate, other than to say that he continues to attend therapy and has a good relationship with his young children.
Bridges’ NBA career took an abrupt turn last summer.
After a career season in 2021-22 in which he averaged 20.2 points and a team-high seven rebounds, it seemed likely that Bridges would sign a multi-year deal worth more than $100 million as a restricted free agent. But just days before the start of free agency, the mother of her children posted graphic photos and descriptions of Bridges’ alleged physical abuse on her Instagram account.
The big contract offer never came, and Bridges didn’t play at all last season when the NBA opened an investigation.
By signing the Hornets’ qualifying offer, Bridges is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, giving him more flexibility in his next destination.
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Charlotte recently selected forward Brandon Miller out of Alabama with the No. 2 pick in the NBA draft, and he could serve as Bridges’ eventual replacement.
Associated Press contributed to this report.