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#pounditWednesday, May 18, 2022

Hornets lowballed their leading scorer in extension talks?

Michael Jordan giving a speech

The Charlotte Hornets may have played themselves in recent contract negotiations with one of their top players.

Veteran basketball writer Marc Stein reported on Friday that the Hornets topped out at four years and $60 million in their recent extension offer to forward Miles Bridges. The two sides ultimately failed to reach to a deal before the Oct. 18 deadline, meaning that Bridges will be a restricted free agent next summer.

For reference, two guys from Bridges’ 2018 draft class at his same forward position ended up getting lucrative extensions from their respective teams. Mikal Bridges got four years and $90 million from the Phoenix Suns, while Michael Porter Jr. got a five-year max extension worth up to $207 million from the Denver Nuggets.

The decision not to make a more competitive offer to their Bridges has since aged like milk for Charlotte. On a team with the likes of LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, and Gordon Hayward, Bridges is their leading scorer this year with an immense 26.4 points per game. He is also chipping in 8.0 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game.

True, hindsight is 20/20, and Bridges had just 12.7 points and 6.0 rebounds per game last year. But the Hornets might have had a much better chance of extending their guy if they had offered something closer to the $90 million that Phoenix’s Bridges got (Porter Jr’s extension from the Nuggets being an anomaly). Instead, Charlotte’s Bridges could easily get $100 million or more on the open market if he maintains his current production. Granted, this is not the first time that the Hornets have lowballed one of their stars.

Photo: Dec 21, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan unveils the new Charlotte Hornets logo at halftime during the game against the Utah Jazz at Time Warner Cable Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

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