Report: Cavs interested in restricted free agent Miles Bridges

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David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

A new report indicates that when NBA free agency kicks off on Friday, one target for the Cleveland Cavaliers will be Charlotte Hornets free agent forward Miles Bridges.

Chris Fedor of noted that the Cavaliers’ interest in Bridges is countered by the likelihood that they could be priced out of the market.

“Sources say the Cavs are interested in Bridges — even though they don’t have nearly enough money to sign him,” wrote Fedor. “At least, that’s the way one source close to the situation put it.”

The 25-year-old Bridges has played all four of his NBA seasons with the Hornets, with the 2021-22 campaign being the best of that group. In 80 games, he averaged 20.2 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game.

However, off-the-court problems in the form of ugly domestic violence charges kept him on the sidelines this season.

Bridges is a restricted free agent, which allows the Hornets to match any offers the Cavaliers or other teams make. The Hornets have already made the requisite $7.9 million qualifying offer to retain the right to match offers for him, though the contract he ends up signing will likely be higher.

Arrested in June of last year, Bridges managed to avoid jail time after submitting a plea of no contest to the charge of felony domestic violence.

Following the legal end of Bridges’ situation, the NBA weighed in with a 30-game suspension in April. However, the league decreed that 20 of those games had already been served, effectively reducing the punishment to 10 games.

Despite that messy situation, Bridges will still be in line for a nice uptick in his salary. From the Cavaliers’ perspective, he offers them the chance to add the solid wing player they’re seeking this offseason.

One area where Bridges could be an asset for the Cavaliers is from beyond the arc. He’s connected on 34.6 percent of his 3-point shots over his NBA career and hit on 154 of his long-range attempts during the 2021-22 season.

Exactly what amount will entice Bridges to either re-sign with the Hornets or sign an offer sheet with another team is uncertain. Yet, the reality is that the Cavaliers are already over the salary cap and would likely prefer to avoid getting close to the luxury tax.

If the Cavaliers come up empty on Bridges, a host of other options exist for them. Of course, other teams will be just as eager to bolster their rosters in what will be another busy period in the league.

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Brad Sullivan is a lead writer for Cavaliers Nation. He has spent much of life in the Cleveland, Ohio area, and has remained a Cavalier fan from their 1970 beginnings through the return of LeBron James. While that fandom was sorely tested during the Reign of Error known simply by one word, Stepien, that overall historical perspective will be part of his writing for Cavaliers Nation in the months ahead.