Things could get very interesting for the Brooklyn Nets and forward Mikal Bridges this coming offseason.
“The price on Bridges is likely only increasing by the month,” argues Michael Shapiro of Chron. “He’s now flashing star scoring upside in his first nine games with Brooklyn, including a 45-point eruption against the Heat and a 38-point effort in a win over Boston. Slapping the 3-and-D moniker on Bridges now feels like an insult given the development of his offensive game.”
Bridges has averaged 26.1 points on 66.9% true shooting – both career-high marks when extrapolated over a full campaign – with 5.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.1 steals all while knocking down 50% of his threes, and defending opposing top options since arriving in Brooklyn.
Shapiro considers the Rockets landing Bridges a “pipe dream”.
There is expected to be no shortage of teams interested in Bridges which could lead to even loftier offers than the four first-round picks they rejected from the Memphis Grizzlies.
“I know of one team that offered them four first-round picks for Mikal Bridges,” Zach Lowe said on ‘The Lowe Post’ podcast on February 10 before clarifying, “I know of at least three first-round picks. The fourth one might have had some protections or something but I’m pretty sure that’s a thing.”
That team was later confirmed to be the Memphis Grizzlies by Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.
His performance could make things a little more interesting in terms of what the Nets front office plans to do as he shows more and more.
“I’m learning more about him –what shots he likes to get to,” Vaughn said via the team’s official YouTube channel after the win over the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday. “And if they’re going in, we love them. We do want to have a profile of really getting to the rim and shooting 3s and putting pressure on the defense that way, also.”
But Houston has sniffed around both Bridges and Johnson before.
“Acquiring Bridges this summer is likely a pipe dream for the Rockets unless they give back perhaps the entire collection of Brooklyn pick assets,” Shapiro speculates noting Houston’s interest in both former Suns before the deadline. “As the Nets once again hit the reset button, they’re likely to protect Bridges at effectively all costs.”
Houston notably owns the Nets’ first-round picks outright in 2024 and 2026 while also holding swap options in 2025 and 2027. The Rockets declined a swap option for 2021 and are likely to do the same in the 2023 NBA Draft.
Bridges earned All-Defensive honors last season and finished second in Defensive Player of the Year voting behind Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics.
Cameron Johnson Sounds Off on Mikal Bridges’ Offensive Outburst
“There was a point in that first quarter, early second, where we looked at each other and said, ‘We’re not going out this way.’ It brought us together,” Johnson said via the Nets’ channel on YouTube after the Nets completed the largest comeback in the NBA this season against Boston on March 3. “That resilience we showed was big.
“And you have to give a lot of credit to Mikal Bridges. He came out and hit big bucket after big bucket, tough bucket after tough bucket.”
Bridges went off for 38 points adding 10 assists and four rebounds to his tally for good measure.
He followed that up with a 33-point, eight-rebound showing against Charlotte just two nights later in a tilt that featured a hot start from Bridges in which he hit his first nine shots.
“I think there’s something to be said about you might make three, four in a row, but to get to nine, you gotta be pretty aggressive early in that game,” Johnson said, per Brian Lewis of the New York Post.
That aggression is paying off for the Nets now and could have a major impact on their summer.