Suns’ Monty Williams: Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson are ‘family’

Feb 9, 2023, 5:34 PM | Updated: 6:30 pm
Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams talks with forwards Cameron Johnson (23) and Mikal Bridges (...

Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams talks with forwards Cameron Johnson (23) and Mikal Bridges (25) during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Friday, July 31, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kim Klement/Pool Photo via AP)

(Kim Klement/Pool Photo via AP)

February 9, 2023, is a date that will go down in Arizona sports history: the day the Phoenix Suns officially acquired Kevin Durant from the Brooklyn Nets.

But when members of the Suns organization think about the day, the emotion of it will be what comes up.

Phoenix had to give up Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder, four unprotected first-round picks and a pick swap in exchange for Durant and T.J. Warren.

Bridges and Johnson, in particular, were two incredibly difficult players for the Suns to let go.

The Twins, as they are known, really embody what Phoenix is about and strives for as a franchise.

Head coach Monty Williams said prior to Thursday’s game that the team was able to say goodbye and give them hugs as they departed to Brooklyn.

“Those two are near and dear to my heart,” Williams said. “They literally are like my family. They know how much we care about them. They understand the business side of it but they also understand that there’s a human side, an emotional side, a connection that is greater than the business side.”

Bridges and Johnson were both drafted originally by the Suns and developed a quick bond. Fortunately, the two of them were able to stay attached and can go through this new process together. The pair is already in Brooklyn ahead of the Nets’ game against the Chicago Bulls.

That is where Bridges spoke for the first time since getting traded.

“It’s crazy, man,” Bridges told TNT’s Jared Greenberg. “It’s part of the business. Life goes on. Coach Monty always says that I ain’t getting sent off to war so you’ll be aight. Just excited for the opportunity.

“Kind of had a feeling in the summer when KD wanted to go to the Suns and I knew me and Cam were probably the 2 guys that probably go. It’s crazy, man, but I’m excited to be here in Brooklyn and can’t wait to go out there.”

Bridges said former teammate Damion Lee broke the news to him late Wendesday night when Lee facetimed Bridges and started apologizing. Bridges wasn’t sure why that was the case and then Lee informed him before Bridges got over to Twitter.

Bridges understands why the Suns made the move for Durant.

“Kind of just like look at it and be like, yeah, I get it,” Bridges said. “I get it, man. One of my favorite players growing up and I know how incredibly talented he is. So I get it.”

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