Hornets extend qualifying offer to Miles Bridges, who faces suspension for domestic violence arrest

The Hornets have extended a qualifying offer to Miles Bridges. (AP Photo/Rusty Jones, File)
The Hornets have extended a qualifying offer to Miles Bridges. (AP Photo/Rusty Jones, File)

Content warning: The following article contains graphic descriptions of alleged domestic violence.

The Charlotte Hornets announced Wednesday they extended a qualifying offer to Miles Bridges keeping him off the unrestricted free-agent market.

The move makes him a restricted free agent and ensures the Hornets have the right to match qualifying offers from other teams. Bridges missed all of last season following a domestic violence arrest on June 27, 2022, the eve of last summer’s NBA free agency.

Prior to his arrest, Bridges was expected to receive a lucrative offer from the Hornets on the heels of a breakout 2021-22 campaign. Instead, he sat the entire 2022-23 season having never received an offer at the conclusion of his rookie contract. In January, the Hornets denied a report they were negotiating a new deal with Bridges after violent details of the alleged attack emerged. Six months later, it appears the Hornets view him as a potential part of their future plans.

Following his arrest, Bridges’ wife, Mychelle Johnson, posted graphic images on social media of injuries she says she sustained in an attack. She wrote that she was left with “a fracture[d] nose, wrist, torn eardrum, torn muscles in my neck from being choked until I went to sleep and a severe concussion.” The post included a medical report stating Johnson was the “adult victim of physical abuse by a male partner.”

“I’ve allowed someone to destroy my home, abuse me in every way possible and traumatize our kids for life,” Johnson wrote. “I have nothing to prove to the world, but I won’t allow anyone who could do something so horrible to have no remorse and paint a picture of something I’m not. I won’t allow the people around him to continue to silence me and continue to lie to protect this person.”

The post has since been deleted.

Bridges was arrested in Los Angeles and initially charged with one felony count of injuring a child’s parent and two felony counts of child abuse under circumstances or conditions likely to cause great bodily injury or death. Per L.A. District Attorney George Gascón, the alleged attack took place in front of two children shared by Bridges and Johnson.

Bridges pleaded not guilty at his arraignment and later pleaded no contest to a charge of domestic violence toward a spouse or other cohabitant in a plea agreement with prosecutors. The other counts were dismissed as part of the agreement. Bridges served no jail time. He was ordered to undergo domestic violence counseling and parenting classes and to conduct 100 hours of community service. He was also forbidden from owning a firearm or any dangerous weapons.

The NBA conducted an independent investigation of the allegations and announced in April that Bridges would be suspended 30 games without pay. The league determined 20 of those games were “already served” because “Mr. Bridges did not sign an NBA contract for the 2022-23 season, missing all 82 games.” If Bridges signs with the Hornets or another team, he will serve the remaining 10 games of his suspension at the start of his new contract.

The Hornets are entering an era of new team ownership after Michael Jordan sold his majority stake in the team to a group led by former minority owner Gabe Plotkin and ex-Atlanta Hawks minority owner Rick Schnall. They selected Brandon Miller with the No. 2 pick in last week’s NBA Draft and hope that he and All-Star point guard LaMelo Ball can lead them into postseason contention after a seven-year playoff drought. Miller is coming off an All-America season at Alabama. He faced questions entering the NBA about his alleged involvement in the off-campus shooting death of Jamea Harris.

Bridges’ breakout coincided with the Hornets’ best season in years. He averaged 20.2 points, 7 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game in 2021-22 while developing chemistry with Ball in the guard’s second NBA season. The Hornets finished 43-39 that season, their only winning record since the 2015-16 campaign.