His name alone has been heard in Phoenix for years. It seems that every time the Phoenix Suns would play a nationally televised game prior to Feb. 9, 2023, we heard it. Announcers from ESPN and TNT would with regularity say, “Miles Bridges” instead of “Mikal Bridges”. I guess it comes with the territory. Facepalm.
Phoenix traded away Mikal, gaining Kevin Durant in return, and it was the last time we thought we’d hear that name linked to the Suns again. At least until 2026, when Bridges would become a free agent and we would take to the Twitter-sphere and Bright Side message boards to express the reasons why and how to re-obtain the Bridges we love.
Here we are, and with two weeks until the trade deadline, we are hearing “Bridges” at every turn. However this time, it isn’t the lengthy kid from Villanova with a smile as wide as a city bus. It’s Miles Bridges, a former Michigan State alum, who missed the entire 2022-23 season as an unsigned restricted free agent (and then the first 10 games of this season) after pleading no contest to felony domestic violence charges stemming from an alleged assault of his ex-girlfriend in front of their children in May of 2022.
I think we all know how we feel about domestic violence, especially in Phoenix.
We just passed the 23rd anniversary (if you call it that) of the arrest of Jason Kidd. Due to a misdemeanor assault charge, Kidd was taken into custody by the Paradise Valley Police Department in Arizona on Jan. 19, 2001. He allegedly stuck his then-wife Joumana, cutting her lip open.
He went through his due process — which was a $200 fine and anger management training — and continued his season. Kidd finished out the year with the Suns, but Phoenix traded him to the New Jersey Nets that offseason. GM Bryan Colangelo wanted no part of someone who committed domestic violence.
Here we are some 23 years later, and a similar situation is on the Suns’ doorstep.
Rumors have swirled that Phoenix, who reportedly desire an athletic wing, are interested in Miles Bridges from the Charlotte Hornets. The 25-year-old is on a one-year deal with the Hornets, making $7.9 million. He is an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and seeing as the Suns have the $6.5 million traded player exception money from trading Cameron Payne, there is a path to acquiring him.
From a basketball perspective, it is an ideal fit. 6’7” and athletic, Bridges is averaging 20.9 points and 7 rebounds in 36.9 minutes for the lowly Hornets. He’s shooting 35.6% from deep and averaging 2.9 assists. He is a spark plug that could seamlessly fit into what the Suns have, providing them with roster flexibility and athleticism that is needed, especially if he were to come off the bench.
But this isn’t all about basketball perspective, is it?
There is a moral conundrum at stake here. We, as fans, have a vested interest in the teams we root for. While we care about the quality of the product on the court, the quality of the individual must be taken into account as well. Bridges doesn’t fit that mold.
Miles Bridges has a long history in this respect.
First, there are the allegations that led to his suspension, which is an ongoing court case with a hearing on Feb. 20. He was arrested in June of 2022 “following an alleged assault of his former girlfriend and the mother of his two children in front of them.” At that time “Bridges was taken into custody by authorities in Los Angeles. He was later released after posting a $30,000 bond” and, as mentioned above, later pled no-contest to the charges.
Then he was served with an arrest warrant for an alleged breach of a domestic violence protective order. From the Charlotte Observer:
Bridges...“continually contacted” the ex-girlfriend by social media and phone even after a judge in California told him not to, according to a January arrest warrant.
According to a criminal summons issued in October, Bridges is accused of throwing billiard balls at a vehicle while children were inside, smashing the windshield, and leaving dents in the car. He’s also accused of threatening that if the woman “told the police he would take everything from her and withhold child support.”
Having the Suns linked to an individual who has such a violent history has evoked rage from the fan base.
Egregious. Suns should stay far away from Miles Bridges. That would be an awful and embarrassing decision. https://t.co/O4fk6a8QBW— Shane Young (@YoungNBA) January 24, 2024
Miles Bridges is on probation and has a hearing set for February related to violating a protective order from his ex and his children— Brendon Kleen (@BrendonKleen14) January 23, 2024
The NBA did not do its job punishing Bridges properly, that doesn't mean any team (Suns included) should go out of their way to acquire him.
I've been a Suns fan for almost 20 years because I randomly turned on a game and decided that's my team. If they trade for Miles Bridges, my fandom ends. I'll watch and root for players I like (Book, KD) but I'll stop supporting the team or caring about winning their first title— sreekar (@sreekyshooter) January 23, 2024
Nothing will kill my soul more than if Miles Bridges got traded to the Suns— SunsIllustrated (@SunsIllustrated) January 23, 2024
When Suns fans said they would sell their soul to the devil for a championship I don’t think they meant it literally. Miles Bridges is a step too far in the depths of hell.— Kyle Clark (@kyclark) January 24, 2024
Now, the Twitter police can be tough. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t right.
I try my best to stay as neutral as possible when it comes to things like this. There is a due process of law that is being followed. There are people employed by the NBA who are in charge of making decisions relative to suspensions, which is its own due process. Those are the systems we have in place to determine the severity of justice served. Good, bad, or indifferent, we must accept them.
If people serve the time for the crime, if their debt to society has been paid through the processes that are in place, technically justice has been served. Through that lens, yeah, it is justifiable that the move to add Bridges is a no-brainer for Phoenix.
But due process hasn’t truly been served yet, has it? A court date lies ahead, and the type of crime he committed is one that society rightfully frowns upon. There are three sides to every story: his side, her side, and the truth. Obviously, trigger words like “domestic violence” instantly frame the assaulter as “guilty before proven innocent”. We don’t know the answers to everything that happened.
I’m not going to use this fan site as a soapbox where I spew my point of view on anything but basketball. When it’s all said and done, the side of the fence will live on when the decision is one is our own. Sometimes watching basketball can be tough because your team is rotating poorly on defense or missing bunnies in the lane. This is a much more complex discussion.
A decision either way will be made, and whatever the result of that decision is will be reality for this Suns team. Your personal feelings do not determine what the Suns’ organization will do. You have an emotional connection to the team and an opinion, and both are valid.
However you feel about the situation is correct, as that is your viewpoint and there are feelings and emotions attached to that. If you feel like bringing Miles Bridges to Phoenix is something that is going to affect your fandom then that’s the right decision. For you. Just know that it’s not going to be the right decision for all. We have to accept the reality of whatever happens. We just have to hope it aligns with the side of the fence our personal stance is with this particular issue.