Southeast Notes: Bridges, Ball, Highsmith, Wizards

The Hornets shouldn’t expect any type of “hometown discount” in their negotiations with free agent forward Miles Bridges, Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer writes in a mailbag column. Even though Bridges has stated several times that he would like to re-sign with Charlotte, Boone expects him to take the best available offer regardless of which team it comes from.

Boone points out that Bridges is represented by Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, who encourages his clients to get the maximum possible value in contract talks. Paul advised Bridges to sign his qualifying offer from the Hornets last summer, which has made him unrestricted as he hits the open market after averaging career highs with 21.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game this season.

Boone points to the Pistons, who will have the most cap space of any team this summer, as a potential suitor for Bridges, meaning the Hornets will have to make a significant offer to bring him back.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Hornets‘ new owners aren’t ready to explore trade opportunities involving LaMelo Ball, Boone adds in the same piece. Injuries have prevented Ball from playing a full NBA season, and the new regime wants to give him a chance to see if he can stay healthy. Boone also points out that Ball’s trade value is low because of his repeated ankle issues, so it’s unlikely that other teams would give up multiple first-rounders in return. Boone doesn’t expect Ball to be traded within the next year.
  • Free agent forward Haywood Highsmith prefers to remain in Miami, but he understands that the Heat’s finances might limit their offer, per Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Highsmith, who earned just $1.9MM this season, compared his situation to that of Gabe Vincent and Max Strus, who both signed elsewhere last summer after leading Miami to the NBA Finals. “I can’t make my decision based off of what I like and don’t like. I have to make the decision that’s best for me,” Highsmith said. “Gabe and Max loved it here; I love it here, too. They didn’t end up staying here, so I don’t know what’s to come for me. Nothing’s on the table, so we’ll see. Obviously, I would love to stay in Miami. That’s where my  daughter’s at, that’s where my family is at, so I would love to be here, too.”
  • The Wizards may have interest in adding Finnish coach Tuomas Iisalo to Brian Keefe’s staff, according to Eurohoops.

Source link: Southeast Notes: Bridges, Ball, Highsmith, Wizards