anada should’ve just denied entry to the entire Charlotte Hornets organization. LaMelo Ball, Brandon Miller, Steve Clifford, Hugo the Hornet and the rest of them should’ve taken the team plane to the next city willing to let Miles Bridges perform his basketball duties.
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There was no definitive reason given by our neighbors to the North for denying entry to Bridges, but speculation is it had something to do with his pleading no contest to a felony charge of injuring a child’s parent. The Hornets’ forward was suspended for the first 10 games of the season after missing all of 2022 while the team and league waited to see whether Bridges would get jail time.
He did not, just three years probation, but in October, he allegedly violated it when he threw billiard balls at the same woman’s vehicle, with children in the car, during a custody exchange. And in case you’re wondering if the tradeoff in production is worth it, it’s not. The Hornets are 7-18 overall, and 4-11 since Bridges’ return from suspension.
The only numbers emptier than Bridges’ 19, 7 and 2 are Ball’s 24, 8 and 5. At first, it appeared as if the youngest Ball brother would fulfill the promises his brothers and father could not. Since his sophomore campaign, however, LaMelo is backsliding into the dangerous habits that had scouts so concerned predraft.
While his stats went up without Bridges last season, this year only Ball’s points and turnovers have inched higher. He’s careening toward the Dark Side, with little impetus to turn around, and the Hornets are enabling, if not complicit, in this path.
There’s little to no reason to watch Charlotte and the latest incident involving Bridges is yet another unnecessary embarrassment. Two years ago, this team was among the budding darlings of the Association. It’s crazy how fast Ball-to-Bridges alley-oops can go from electric to unsettling in the span of 24 months.
If the goal of NBA franchises was to assemble the least charismatic, most underperforming and depressing roster possible, the Hornets would be the odds-on favorites. The Detroit Pistons might be on a 23-game losing streak, but they can still take a full roster to Toronto.
Miller, the Hornets’ No. 2 overall pick, who had his own brush with a tragic and violent incident while at Alabama, is actually pretty good when Ball, Bridges or Terry Rozier decide to pass him the ball. Of course, that goes unnoticed when you’re on a bottom-six squad in the league and the legal case involving a capital murder charge — which to clarify, Miller is not a part of — is ongoing.
For the love of god, Steve Clifford is the f*cking coach. He was fired at his last two stops, and one of them was Charlotte. Larry Johnson, Alonzo Mourning and Mugsy Bougues did not dominate NBA Jam to watch this franchise drive in circles like a clown car.
Between Rozier and Gordon Hayward, how much would you guess Charlotte is paying them? More than $54 million combined. I know the way the current NBA works, that’s not a ton of money, but it’s still more than the duo of Jordan Poole and Kyle Kuzma, and at least the Wizards’ titanic tankers play. Rozier already missed time and we know Gordy is destined for a stint on the injured list.
So what if the Charlotte Hornets got Bridges at a domestic-abuser discount? It’s not paying off, nor should it, and if anything, the Hornets and the NBA are paying for it.