Mikal Bridges Uses 1-Word to Describe Knicks Opportunity

Mikal Bridges

Getty Mikal Bridges handling the ball during a March 2 game against the Atlanta Hawks.

The New York Knicks formed a four-player core of Villanova alumni when they acquired Mikal Bridges from the Brooklyn Nets. He was introduced to the press on July 9.

On the opportunity to play for New York, with his former college teammates, Bridges used one word to describe it.

“It’s surreal,” Bridges said at his introductory press conference. “Coming here, it makes me feel like a young kid again, with all the memories. When I think about basketball when I was young, and the old school, it was always the Knicks. That’s what you think about. MSG. The New York song. All that stuff.”

The Knicks acquired Bridges the night before the 2024 NBA Draft. They traded forward Bojan Bogdanovic, Mamadi Diakite and Shake Milton along with a bevy of future draft picks.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was first with reports of the trade between Brooklyn and New York.

Bridges is coming off of his sixth NBA campaign, and his second with the Nets.

He averaged 19.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.0 steals per game in 82 appearances with Brooklyn.

Mikal Bridges Downplays Ironman Narrative

Injuries derailed the Knicks’ 2024 playoff run, with all of OG Anunoby, Julius Randle, and Mitchell Robinson missing time.

Bridges, on the other hand, is coming off of three straight seasons having played the season-full 82 games.

He’ll fit right in playing for head coach Tom Thibodeau, who’s amassed a reputation for overplaying his guys. Bridges downplayed the narrative in his press conference.

“I see all the jokes,” Bridges told reporters. “But it’s great. Thibs is a great coach, and I think one thing: Who doesn’t want to play all the time? That’s just who he is, and how structured he is.”

He went on to recall a time when he was with the Phoenix Suns, and he played 50 minutes against the Sacramento Kings.

“Who doesn’t wanna play all the time?” Bridges continued. “Y’all must not have been watching me in Phoenix; Coach Monty…the man played me 50-something minutes against De’Aaron Fox. I was sick as a bat, couldn’t breathe. Literally out there, couldn’t breathe. I was on a frickin’ chair after we won, laid out, and I don’t think Monty knew I was sick, either.”

Bridges will wear the number 1 in New York, previously worn by 2021 draft pick Obi Toppin.

Knicks Monitoring Center Market

With the departure of Isaiah Hartenstein, Robinson is likely to be assumed to the starting lineup in 2024-25.

But the Knicks are looking into options to serve as his backup, with Jericho Sims the only other center slated for playing time.

Amongst the names available is Walker Kessler of the Utah Jazz.

SNY’s Ian Begley reported on New York’s talks with Utah and the expected market for the third-year big.

“The Knicks have been in touch with Utah, have had some interest in Walker Kessler, the big man, as a potential solution for them at the backup five,” Begley said on July 8. “Teams in touch with Utah say the Jazz are looking for at least a first-round pick in return for Kessler in these conversations that have gone on earlier in the offseason.”

Kessler is going into his third season with the Jazz, after being drafted in the first-round of the 2022 NBA Draft.

He averaged 8.1 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks in 64 regular-season appearances last season.

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