Miles Bridges has been one of the most coveted players available this offseason. Young wings are one of the NBA's most precious commodities, and The Athletic reported that the Hornets are hesitant to match a max offer sheet for their fourth-year forward.
However, Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak disputed that notion on Tuesday. When he was introducing head coach Steve Clifford, Kupchak made it clear that the Hornets would like to retain Bridges. "As an organization, we love Miles," Kupchak said. "We're going to bring him back. He's been great for the franchise, and I believe with his work ethic he's only going to get better."
As a restricted free agent, the Hornets have the right to match any offer sheet Bridges signs with another team. Doing so would be prohibitively expensive, though. Not only would it bring the Hornets within range of the luxury tax (which they've never paid), but it would also set their roster up to be even more expensive down the line, when LaMelo Ball and P.J. Washington eventually sign contract extensions.
The Hornets already have Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier on long-term deals. Retaining Bridges at or near his max is only going to make them pricier for the long haul, which might put pressure on Charlotte to move Hayward or Rozier.
The Pistons and Pacers stand out as viable options for Bridges as a free agent, but plenty of teams could come at him with something close to a max offer. Players like Bridges rarely ever actually hit the open market. Teams are going to try to pay for the rare opportunity to sign him, but for now, Charlotte still holds all of the cards.