The Phoenix Suns acquired superstar Kevin Durant BUT the cost was heavy ON OUR HEARTS.
Yes, one of the best players to ever lace them up will now be on our team and we got our guy BUT we lost OUR GUYS.
It is a business and I’m sure Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson would have traded themselves for Kevin Durant. He is that great of a player. In fact...
Mikal Bridges keeping it real pic.twitter.com/3tJVeom4hy— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 12, 2023
However, it’s SO HARD to accept the fact that the “Twins” are no longer in the Valley. I am at least glad that they stayed together and should have very solid roles for their new team.
I will miss Cam J as he definitely had some highlights (putting PJ Tucker on a poster in the playoffs for example with that dunk, you know which one). He was such a nice, smart guy too that spread the floor so well and could go off at any time.
Most of all, though, I’ll miss the hell out of Mikal Bridges.
He did so much for this franchise and was constantly improving. Guarding the best player on the court was a challenge he happily accepted.
Lately he had obliged to picking up the scoring load on offense with all the injuries to the roster.
Remember the days of Marquese Chriss and Josh Jackson? All those issues? Yeah, Mikal and Cam J weren’t anything like that. They didn’t ever give any issues.
I will truly miss them both but Mikal was the first player I had let myself really connect with and grow to love since Shawn Marion. I’m a grown man and I’ll be honest in saying I’ve shed some tears.
We will always have the memories, though. Until 2026, when they’ll both be free agents and re-signed by the Suns after we get at least one ring with KD. Or at least one can hope.
Favorite memory of Mikal Bridges
Dave King: I asked my wife and her favorite memories of Mikal was his pregame dancing, his constant smiles and three-point celebration. I have to admit those are mine too. He’s just a great person with a big heart. As a media member myself, I’ll always appreciate that Mikal was always real with us. Never once did he give us a canned answer. He always spoke from a place of truth and transparency. I’ll miss you, Kal.
Stephen PridGeon-Garner: Mikal is truly the quintessential “glue guy.” He’s the guy that can get a smile out of anyone, and has a reach that is unparalleled because of that. That’s in addition to having the most engaging personality to match.
My favorite memory from “#Limbs” is his incredible display of “time on task,” in game five against the New Orleans Pelicans. Sans Booker, Paul and Ayton were in need of one of the Twins to infuse their two-man attack with some offensive juice, and Mikal had his game sliders all the way up, on both ends of the floor in this one.
En route to playoff career-highs in points (31) and blocks (4), he was as activated and animated as I’ve ever seen him. All of which helped secure a big-time win before closing out in New Orleans.
Khaleel: It’s hard to choose just one but I’m going to go with his defense on Steph Curry. That just showed how ready he was to step up to even the hardest challenge with a smile on his face. But that’s just one and there is no wrong answer here.
Kyle Glazier: I’ll always remember Bridges fondly as a true professional who always seemed to have a positive attitude and loads of determination. His hard work on both ends along with his likable personality made him a real favorite with Suns fans.
John Voita: So many memories, so little space to reflect upon them all. Mikal Bridges had our hearts as NBA fans. TMat Ishbia referenced attitude and effort as being controllable factors of success, both on and off the court. Those two attributes define who and what Mikal Bridges is. His smile, his playfulness, his joy playing the game of basketball.
We all felt a connection to him, much as I’m certain Steph Curry’s supporters in Golden State do.
My favorite memory of Mikal Bridges can’t be defined in one moment, rather, it is a collection of memories of how he played the game. Shawn Marion has long been a favorite of mine, and Mikal Bridges was the first player to challenge that admiration. The “do everything guys” are great. That’s who Mikal was, the guy who did everything. But he did it with more joy than The Matrix ever did.
He will be missed.
Damon Allred: “Nevada” by YoungBoy Never Broke Again will just never be the same. I saw the video of the pregame dancing just a little while after the trade came down and I swore a shed a tear or two. He brought life to the team, and no one can replace that, even an all-time great like KD.
Favorite memory of Cam Johnson
Dave King: The lemonade stand. During the Suns 2022 record-setting regular season, Cam Johnson lost a bet to Mikal and had to man a pop-up lemonade stand on a hot day in Phoenix. Cam was great, stayed for hours handing out cups of lemonade to hundreds of Suns fans who just left their work/home to get a sip from Cam. Like Mikal, he was always real and always came from a place of honesty and transparency. I’ll miss you, Cam.
Stephen PridGeon-Garner: “CamJo” is simply one of the most enjoyable athletes. He goes about his business in a calm and quiet demeanor but makes loud impacts over the course of games. Known most for his three-point shooting, but is so much more than just that, with his closeout attacks and drives, in general, picking up steam, as is his defensive trajectory in ascension even more.
My favorite memory from Cam... I was torn between the dunk in the Finals over PJ Tucker, and the improbable rising to the occasion against the Knicks last season. I ended up choosing the latter, because the switch he flipped at that moment, lit by Julius Randle antics, was poetry in motion. Plus, it was capped off by a 21-point pyrotechnic-like fourth quarter - as he would find rhythm respacing in the gaps of the Knicks rotating defense and off-screens - and the game-winner.
Khaleel: I already mentioned the dunk over Tucker against the Bucks so my choice is the game when he took over in that win against the Knicks and became Julius Randle’s dad. He really could just flip a switch and go off.
John Voita: The dunk over Tucker was iconic on the biggest stage. But it’s been mentioned, so I’ll go with his game winner against the New York Knicks in the 2021-22 season.
What made the game so fun was Cameron Johnson was getting bullied by Julius Randle. He took a hard shoulder to the chest and it seemed to unlock a side of Cameron Johnson that we had never seen before. The “Killer Cam”.
He went into a different zone, scoring a career-high 38 points – off the bench, mind you – hitting the game winner to propel the Suns over the Knicks, 115-114.
This angle of Cam Johnson’s game winner is— Blue Wire (@bluewirepods) March 5, 2022
(via azn_entrepreneur/IG) pic.twitter.com/AMWON3nMxw
Unfortunately, injury sustained in that game cost him 13 games at the end of the season, and he never was the same during the postseason.
But for one magical night, Cameron Johnson owned the NBA.
Kyle Glazier: His comeback from his injury this season. I was skeptical Cam could bounce back so quickly from a fairly serious setback, but he did and gave the Suns a huge boost to help keep the season viable.
Damon Allred: I’ll go way back to his rookie year in the bubble. Similar to new teammate Darius Bazley, Johnson thrived in Disney World after mostly unnoticeable rookie campaigns. Cam averaged 13.3 points (+ from before the bubble), 5.9 rebounds, and 2.1 assists in 32.4 minutes per game.
But it was what happened off the court that caught my attention. It’s hard to find the video evidence so far removed, but Cam and fellow former Sun Dario Saric grew very close during the bubble with some fun practice moments and spikeball moments alike. He no doubt became an important cog for this team emotionally even before he was an important cog on the court.