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Mikal Bridges reflects on Phoenix, being traded to Brooklyn, and the beauty of the Valley

The former Sun talked candidly on JJ Redick’s podcast about the past few weeks,

Brooklyn Nets v New York Knicks Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

As you all know, two weeks ago the Phoenix Suns traded Mikal Bridges, along with Cam Johnson, to the Brooklyn Nets for Kevin Durant. Err, excuse me. Kevin Freaking Durant.

Mikal has made a few comments here and there on the trade, but finally gave a full in-depth interview to JJ Redick and Tommy Alter on the ‘Old Man and the Three’ podcast, released today.

Here’s what Mikal said (edited slightly for brevity. My man loves the word ‘like’!)

On what he thought of Phoenix before the trade:

“The craziest part was being very confident about Phoenix. When Book came back, everybody was like ‘DON’T CHANGE. We know Book’s coming back, just stay aggressive, don’t try to fall back a little bit’. I played well in Brooklyn, we won.”

“It’s gonna get real hectic now, everybody’s getting better. C is a mastermind, but C was guarding even better. I think C kind of knew that was the biggest thing that he has to work on. Defending. Everything was just looking really good and they just, they sent me out here.”

“Once we get this team back, everybody back, C-Payne was coming back soon, I’m like, we’re gonna have some SHIT now. And then out of nowhere, I’m just chillin and they just flipped me. And I was just, like, damn.”

On what he thinks of Phoenix with KD:

“I thought about how nice we were going to be, with everybody was coming back? I know we’re losing me and Cam, but you get T.J. (Warren) and you get KD. I feel like KD don’t affect on the defensive end as much as me, but he can still guard and we’re all team defense anyway. You got coach Mont that’s going to make everything great, and you know we all play for each other—” pause “—they all play for each other, and you get 30 a game.”

“So now I feel like, you know, I like them. For them, with the new owner and what they’re trying to do, it makes the most sense. I understand they’re trying to win now. Do I think the Suns still could have won with me and Cam there? For sure. But you gotta do KD, man. That offense, and with coach Mont and those guys over there, that’s a helluva fit.”

On missing the Valley:

“I came home (during All-Star break), and I was walking Sunny, and I’m starting to realize everything I don’t usually realize. Looking at the mountains, I’m like, ‘that is just a beautiful-ass view’. I never walk outside and ‘look at that great view!’. Nah I walk my dog, go back inside. But I’m just like ‘I’m gonna miss this shit’. I’m going to miss living here.”

On possibly being re-traded that final day of the trade deadline:

“My agent’s calling me, talking to me, ‘Hold on’. I’m trying to get my mind prepared ‘Okay. I like Brooklyn. Finney and Spencer just got there. We’re gonna bring this energy, we’re gonna play hard’, all that stuff. And they’re just like calm down, just wait. There’s a lot of stuff people are offering.”

“Damn! For me?” he said, of offers including multiple picks. “Aight. So I’m just waiting to see where I go.”

Ed. note: JJ Redick says he heard one team had five first round picks on the table. FIVE. That’s how many the Suns included in the KD deal, by the way. Think about it — the Nets already turned KD into Mikal, Cam, 5 firsts and 5 seconds. Imagine them flipping Mikal that day too and making it Cam + 10 firsts and 5 seconds!! Of course, I’m sure those firsts would have been low, but still...

On new vibes in Brooklyn:

“Everybody, we’re kinda like the same age. A lot of stuff had been going on with KD being out and the Kyrie situation. It’s been a lot. Like, it’s been a lot. Probably more than any other team.”

“So I think it’s more of a little relief. Maybe now they can just focus on just hooping. Bringing in guys like me and Cam, that’s all we care about. You ain’t gonna see us on TMZ or anything. We’re just here to hoop.”

On developing his game this year:

“Big shout out to Corey Vinson. I was with him all summer. Jarret Jack. B-Gates, Brian Gates. Three guys right there who helped me feel comfortable, and working on my game. And also coach Monty, man. I think him giving me that confidence and letting me play like who I am, and just letting me play how I play. It helped. It (the new ball skill) wasn’t always there.”

“Corey Vinson used to always tell me... if you see my handle over the summer, you’d be like oh shit okay it’s tight, this and that. But I never was a guy that played off the dribble, so that was uncomfortable for me to try in the game, because if I try and lose it, my mind’s like man hell nah, don’t do that shit again, we ain’t turning that over again. So I’ve just been working and finally found that little confidence when I was playing in Phoenix, and then Brooklyn, just trying. I was feeling good, I just wasn’t really thinking. I was just trying stuff that I’ve always been working on.”

Least favorite teammate on the Suns:

(laughing) “Bismack Biyombo! Tell him I don’t like Bis. Get him the hell away from me. BIS-MACK.”

Listen to the whole thing here.

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