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A Miles Bridges trade to the Suns would be inexcusable

The Charlotte wing has a pending court date for an abuse charge after already serving a suspension for abuse.

Orlando Magic v Phoenix Suns Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images

Full disclosure, I’ve been avoiding even acknowledging this as a possibility, because I thought that if I ignored it for long enough it would just go away. But because of recent reporting, I can ignore it no longer.

The Phoenix Suns trading for Miles Bridges would be a complete disaster.

Just so we’re all on the same page in understanding the situation we’re dealing with, here’s the full Wikipedia section on Bridges’ under the category “Domestic violence charges.” (I went and double-checked. No other Phoenix Suns player has a criminal category on their page.)

On June 29, 2022, Bridges was arrested in Los Angeles for felony domestic violence and was released on $130,000 bond. He allegedly assaulted Mychelle Johnson in front of their two children. According to Johnson’s hospital report which she posted to Instagram [warning: graphic content in link], she was an “adult victim of abuse by male partner” which included assault by strangulation, brain concussion, closed fracture of nasal bone, contusion of rib, multiple bruises, and a neck muscle strain. On July 19, Bridges was charged with one felony count of injuring a child’s parent and two felony counts of child abuse. The following day, he pled not guilty to all three charges at his arraignment. On November 3, he pled no contest to the felony domestic charge and was sentenced to three years of probation. The other two charges were dismissed.

In October 2023, Bridges was charged with violating his probation and protection order after an October 6 incident where he allegedly threw billiard balls at Johnson’s car, breaking her windshield while their children were inside the car. Bridges’ current girlfriend is also alleged to have kicked the car while yelling in Johnson’s direction. Bridges turned himself in on October 13 and was released upon paying $1,000 bond. At this time, Bridges had an outstanding warrant stemming from January 2023 that had yet to be served.

Nearly a year after the first charge, Johnson shared this statement:

Here’s what she posted the day after the alleged second incident:

This is so important to remember, because this is not about second chances in this particular case. Bridges had a second chance. He blew it.

Bridges served a 30-game suspension (10 games this season, with 20 applied retroactively to the year he missed while unsigned as a restricted free agent in the aftermath of the first incident) for the first charge, but the NBA waits for court proceedings before their own punishments, so he has not been suspended for the second alleged incident.

The court date for that is February 20, roughly two weeks from now — and after the February 8 NBA trade deadline. Here’s what the Charlotte Hornets said in a statement when Bridges returned from his suspension, even with the pending court date.

Miles Bridges is eligible to return to our active roster on Friday after serving his NBA suspension. We are comfortable with Miles returning to play based on our current understanding of the facts of the recent allegations and remain in contact with the NBA as that matter proceeds through the court process.

Personally, I can’t begin to fathom why a person with this sort of track record is currently playing in the NBA. There should be a baseline expectation of treating all people with respect, let alone the mother of your own children.

Sometimes, it’s not just about basketball. How would any of us look at Bridges and assess his actions if he was just a normal person without the talent that puts him among the 200-or-so best basketball players on the planet?

Furthermore, how would any of us look at Bridges if Johnson were our own sister, daughter, or close friend?

This is not someone I want to cover, let alone root for. Many lifelong Suns fans have already said they wouldn’t even be able to if they tried.

Given all this, why is a Miles Bridges trade to the Suns even being considered?

Suns owner Mat Ishbia — coming up on his first anniversary of owning the team — was a booster for Michigan State while Bridges played for Ishbia’s beloved head coach Tom Izzo there.

Plus, Bridges has a unique contract. It’s only for one year and Charlotte has his Bird rights, which means he can veto any trade but the Bird rights wouldn’t transfer, making this almost certain to be roughly a three-month stint in Phoenix because of the Suns’ inability to exceed the cap to re-sign him to anything but their minimum, bi-annual or mid-level salary exceptions.

Similarly to the Bradley Beal trade over the summer — and only in this sense — if Bridges’ heart is set on Phoenix, that’s the only trade destination we’ll see for him.

But even with the Suns having so little to offer in any trade, an acquisition of a player with so little value due to his off-court character is possible, especially considering those veto rights.

Would Bridges be a good basketball fit in Phoenix?

Truthfully, I’m doubtful that Bridges would even be a top-six or seven player in the Suns’ rotation.

He would be well behind schedule in terms of playing winning basketball coming from a Charlotte squad that is currently 10-37 and 13th in the East. Plus, he has no familiarity with a Frank Vogel system.

Bridges is also coming off his worst game of the season, a nine-point effort on 3-for-16 shooting on Friday in a loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Furthermore, he’s having his worst season from a true-shooting standpoint since before the pandemic at 55.6%, which would rank 12th on the Suns.

I wouldn’t come close to approving this trade if it were me in the Suns front office.

If the trade-off is a little worse basketball depth for much better character in the locker room, that’s something I would do every time.

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