“I need to take it a step further, and I need to start outing some things in his personal life,” Landale told Chandler Parsons on FanDuel TV’s ‘Run It Back’ on May 30. “Just let him know to cool it a little bit.”
Landale noted that, even though he now plays for the Nets Suns fans have taken Bridges’ side in their war of words that included the former “warning” incoming prospects not to be like his former teammate – several NBA draft hopefuls had noted they would like to emulate Bridges’ career arc going from a role player in a winning situation to getting a chance to lead.
“I think Mikal is a little bit of a protected species and I’ve got to cool it just a little bit,” Landale told Parsons.
Bridges, never the one to let his friends get the better of him on social media, responded.
Bridges has certainly endeared himself to his new fanbase as well, showing a greater ceiling than many previously believed and an open willingness to be the opposite of the last super team experiment the Nets tried.
“I’m the total opposite of all them dudes,” Bridges told the crew on ‘The Pivot Podcast’ on May 20. “you’re never gonna catch me off-camera doing some crazy s***.”
The 26-year-old Bridges averaged 26.1 points on 60.7% true shooting after being traded.
Both numbers would have been career highs across a full season and look even better considering Bridges is on a relatively team-friendly four-year, $90.9 million contract through the 2026 season. Cameron Johnson, a fine player in his own right but one who has not yet shown the ceiling Bridges has, is set to land a deal worth $20 million annually this summer.
Keeping them together could get expensive fast and could get even more expensive if the things Bridges has been doing on camera pay off for the Nets.
Mikal Bridges Causes Stir on Damian Lillard’s Instagram Live
For the second time in as many months, Bridges and Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard were seen “together” on social media, though this time it was Bridges crashing Lillard’s Instagram live session.
Lillard’s Blazers are said to have Bridges among their top targets in their attempts to build a contender around the 32-year-old point guard, per Sean Highkin of the Rose Garden Report on May 29. But Brooklyn is said to have no interest in moving Bridges for the No. 3 overall pick and one of Anfernee Simons or Shaedon Sharpe, per Alex Schiffer of The Athletic.
Portland could be at a bit of a negotiating disadvantage looking to add to their current group.
Lillard has made it clear he doesn’t want to go through a rebuild but other teams – particularly those like the Nets that may want the seven-time All-Star – have little incentive to help Portland.
Nets Can Practice Patience
The beauty of having Bridges is the Nets and general manager Sean Marks don’t have to pick a direction just yet. Their current roster should contend for a playoff spot, though their staying power has already proven to be limited.
They can wait it out a bit longer – into the season and, hopefully, with Ben Simmons back in tow – to see just what they want to add or subtract.
Of course, time doesn’t wait in the NBA.
If the right deal comes along, the Nets almost have to pounce as having no direction can, in many ways, be worse than a team tanking for a premium draft pick, an option which the Nets don’t really have given they still owe picks to the Houston Rockets from the James Harden trade in 2021 – another reason that patience may prevail in the end.