Miles Bridges Returns to Charlotte Hornets with Apology: Hornets GM Mitch Kupchak Defends

Charlotte Hornets forward Miles Bridges expressed remorse for the pain and embarrassment caused by his involvement in a domestic violence investigation, which led to his absence from the league last season. Bridges came back after signing a $7.9 million qualifying offer for the 2023-24 season with Charlotte Hornets. He and Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak who orchestrated Bridges’ return along with fellow team leadership sat side by side while speaking with reporters during a news conference.

Bridges pleaded no contest in November to a felony charge stemming from allegations of assaulting the mother of his children in their presence and was sentenced to three years of probation.

“I want to apologize to everybody for the pain and embarrassment that I have caused everyone, especially my family,” Bridges said. “This year away I’ve used to prioritize going to therapy and becoming the best person I can be — someone that my family and everyone here can be proud of.”

Following a comprehensive investigation, the NBA handed Bridges a 30-game suspension earlier this offseason. However, due to the credit given for the 20 games he missed last season out of 82 games, he will only be required to sit out the first 10 games of the upcoming season. Bridges thanked the Hornets organization and the NBA for granting him a second chance, emphasizing that not everyone gets such an opportunity. He is determined to use this second chance to prove that he remains the same promising player he was when drafted five years ago.

Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak revealed that the decision to re-sign Bridges received unanimous approval from outgoing majority owner Michael Jordan and incoming owners Gabe Plotkin and Rick Schnall. Kupchak explained that the decision was based on thorough investigations conducted by the NBA and the Los Angeles Police Department and the team’s longstanding relationship with Bridges over the past five years. Acknowledging the divisive nature of the situation, Kupchak recognized that not everyone may agree with the decision, but stressed the importance of considering Bridges’ demonstrated remorse and accountability.

Bridges acknowledged that he must earn back the trust of all those affected, including fans, teammates, and members of the Hornets organization. He recognized that some individuals may not believe he deserves a second chance, but he intends to use the upcoming season as an opportunity to showcase his growth and character. Kupchak affirmed that while Bridges’ teammates are pleased to have him back, rebuilding trust will be an ongoing process.

Though Bridges refrained from discussing specific details, he mentioned that he continues to attend therapy and maintains a positive relationship with his young children. Looking ahead, Bridges returns to the court after an exceptional 2021-22 season in which he led the team with an average of 20.2 points and seven rebounds per game. The Hornets finished that season with a winning record, their only one since 2015-16.

While Bridges signed a one-year contract, he will become an unrestricted free agent next summer, granting him more flexibility in choosing his future destination. The Hornets will retain Bridges’ Bird rights, enabling them to offer him a more substantial and extended contract compared to other teams. Bridges expressed his desire to remain with the Hornets, but discussions about his long-term future will occur at a later time.

In the recent NBA draft, the Hornets selected forward Brandon Miller from Alabama with the second overall pick, suggesting the team may be considering him as a potential successor to Bridges in the future.

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