The offseason allows for many things and one of them can be a more relaxed back-and-forth between players.
Former Suns big man Frank Kaminsky had fun with an article from Alex Schiffer of The Athletic in which several prospects in the 2023 NBA Draft class name-dropped Bridges as someone they wanted to model their careers after, going from supporting cast member in a winning situation to potential franchise cornerstone in Brooklyn.
Bridges and Kaminsky played together on the Suns for three seasons from 20019 through 2022 when Kaminsky signed as a free agent with the Atlanta Hawks who traded him at the deadline.
He was not the only former teammate to have fun with Bridges’ newfound celebrity.
Suns center Jock Landale – who was traded to and also dealt by Atlanta to the Houston Rockets last offseason – got in on the social media joke session even before Kaminsky. He and Bridges spent the first half of the 2022-23 campaign on the same team.
Mikal Bridges is the Prototype for Potential Nets
“I used to be a huge Paul Pierce fan,” said Iowa forward Kris Murray, per Schiffer. “But now it’s Mikal Bridges. Just seeing how he plays. We have similar body types. I feel like defensively I can be similar to him.”
Murray is the brother of Sacramento Kings forward and 2022 NBA Draft No. 4 overall pick Keegan Murray who helped snap the longest playoff drought in professional sports this past season. The younger Murray is projected to fall to the Nets with the No. 22 overall pick, per Tankathon.
“I want to have the same trajectory and same process he did,” NZ Breakers wing Rayan Rupert said according to Schiffer. “Mikal Bridges is a big inspiration for me.”
Rupert has already caught Nets general manager Sean Mark’s eye.
Tankathon projects the 6-foot-7 Rupert to fall to the Nets with the No. 21 overall selection.
Nets ‘Aren’t Interested’ in Blazers’ No. 3 Overall Pick
While Brooklyn has shown interest in a wide array of prospects, one thing they will not be doing is attempting to jump up to the top of the draft for a shot at the likes of G League Ignite star Scoot Henderson or Alabama’s Brandon Miller.
“Those Mikal Bridges/Blazers trade rumors are all talk,” Schiffer tweeted on May 19. “Nets aren’t interested.”
Portland has made no secret about their plans on building a title contender around superstar point guard Damian Lillard who has said he does not want to endure a rebuild. Lillard is also fond of Cameron Johnson but Lillard’s friend Bridges is the Blazers’ top target, per Rose Garden Report’s Sean Highkin on ‘The Athletic NBA Show’ on May 20.
Schiffer’s tweet corroborated reporting from his colleague at The Athletic, John Hollinger.
“The Nets don’t seem to have much incentive to play ball here,” Hollinger wrote on May 19 citing Brooklyn’s draft obligations to the Houston Rockets from the James Harden trade. “Brooklyn’s likely best path forward is to muddle along with a Bridges-centric team.”
Bridges is signed through 2026 on a four-year, $90.9 million contract while the Nets have touted his development in an expanded role and hinted that he is a building block going forward.