EMPIRE OF THE SUNS

Mikal Bridges waiting like all of us for potential contract extension with Suns

Oct 15, 2021, 5:15 PM
Mikal Bridges #25 of the Phoenix Suns reacts to a three-point shot against the Brooklyn Nets during...
Mikal Bridges #25 of the Phoenix Suns reacts to a three-point shot against the Brooklyn Nets during the first half of the NBA game at Phoenix Suns Arena on February 16, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — When Phoenix Suns wing Mikal Bridges was discussing a potential new contract extension on Friday, a word he kept coming back to was waiting.

The deadline for teams to sign fourth-year players on rookie contracts like Bridges, Deandre Ayton and Landry Shamet to an extension is Monday at 3 p.m.

Phoenix has not announced a deal with any of the three yet, nor has one been reported. Players that don’t get those extensions done will be restricted free agents next summer.

Like Ayton on Tuesday, Bridges was honest with where his head is at with only a few days left.

“Just going [over it] with my people, my agents and stuff. Obviously, I want to be here,” he said. “I love the city here.”

Bridges said he’s a human like everyone else and it’s on his mind but credited his teammates and family for helping him keep a level head and not get too distracted by it.

“I sit there, just wait every day, keep improving and don’t let it get to me,” he said of the deadline. “Just gotta wait. I’ve tried to prove as much as I can as time goes on.”

When Bridges was asked if he wants to get the deal done now or later, he reiterated his desire to stay.

“I just want to be here, man,” he said. “That’s what the whole thing is. I want to be here and it’s up to those guys. Deadline is close so we’ll see and wait.”

While there is a debate surrounding the timing of agreeing to a deal with Ayton because he will likely be getting a max offer in restricted free agency anyway, Bridges is the player the Suns need to sign now and they would be shooting themselves in the foot if they don’t.

You do not need two hands to count how many players there are like Bridges, who would start on every team in the league and is irreplaceable.

The 25-year-old was an elite shooter last year (42.5 3P%) and was one spot away from being Second Team All-Defense after mainly defending point guards as a forward. On top of all the glue guy things Bridges does in a minimal role, he’s shown there’s some serious offensive upside to his game that could be coming to fruition as soon as this season.

He’s also one of the hardest workers on a team full of ’em. And they would go to war for him, as Bridges is one of the undisputed vibe kings in the locker room and plays the way you would ever want any teammate to.

If he was a restricted free agent, Bridges would be entering a very weak class that he would undoubtedly be at least a top five name in. The range of $20-25 million per year that has been floated could very well expand in a market like that.

If the Suns were to let him go on that market, it wouldn’t even be a dangerous game they’d be playing. That implies there is a winner and a loser to be decided. They’d be losing, so it would be extremely wise to lock him up now and give him the money he’s earned after his great play in his first three seasons.

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Mikal Bridges waiting like all of us for potential contract extension with Suns