Miles Bridges will return to the Charlotte Hornets on a one-year contract next season after he finishes his suspension because he did not contest a domestic violence felony charge.
Bridges, 25, has been a restricted free agent with the Hornets since June 2022, when he was expected to negotiate a deal with a maximum of $173 million over five years. But on June 29, 2022, he was arrested in Los Angeles on charges of hitting the mother of his two children in front of the children. In November, he pleaded no contest to a felony domestic violence charge as part of a plea deal that included three years of probation but no jail time.
“I sincerely apologize for the pain, embarrassment and disappointment that last year’s incident caused so many people,” Bridges said in a statement via the team on Friday, adding that he was “grateful” for a second chance to play. He’s been with the Hornets since they acquired him in a one-day deal in 2018. His new contract is one year for $7.9 million, According to ESPN.
Bridges will have to sit out the first 10 games next season. The NBA suspended him for 30 games in April, but gave him a 20-game credit because he didn’t play last season. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver later told a group of sports editors that Bridges and the league have a “mutual agreement” that he will not play during the 2022-23 season, though he said the agreement does not constitute a suspension. However, in Feb Bridges told the Associated Press He may return in March.
As part of the plea bargain, Bridges was required to undergo a year of domestic violence counseling, complete 100 hours of community service and go to parenting classes. The victim was also granted a 10-year restraining order. Bridges initially faced multiple criminal charges of domestic violence and child abuse.
In the team’s statement Friday, Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak said Bridges’ “commitment to counseling and community service” influenced Charlotte’s decision to bring him back.
“Throughout this process, we have taken a measured and serious approach,” said Kupchak. Of Bridges, he added, “He showed remorse, indicated that he had learned from the situation and expressed that it would not happen again.”
Bridges said he was in therapy and that he understood why people were asking if he deserved a second chance. He pledged to restore everyone’s trust and confidence.
Without Bridges last season, the Hornets were the second worst team in the Eastern Conference. Charlotte’s MVP guard LaMelo Ball also missed most of the season due to injuries. The poor bid put the Hornets to a high draft pick, which they used on Alabama’s Brandon Miller second overall.
Michael Jordan, the former Chicago Bulls star who has owned the Hornets since 2010, announced last month that he would sell his majority stake in the team but would remain as a minority investor.