The Phoenix Suns have rode a great run in the Orlando bubble right into contention this season, with a 21-11 record entering Saturday. Devin Booker and Chris Paul are the headliners, but the contribution of Mikal Bridges should be overlooked.
Bridges has started all 32 games for the Suns thus far. He’s averaging career-bests 13.8 points and 5.0 rebounds per game, while shooting a clear career-best 42.3 percent from beyond the arc (on a career-most 4.7 attempts per game).
The Suns have exercised Bridges’ option for the 2021-22 season, which will pay him about $5.5 million. A qualifying offer for 2022-23 would pay him almost $7.6 million.
On The Bill Simmons Podcast, the Suns must have been a topic of discussion between the host and ESPN’s Zach Lowe. Bridges’ future contract also came up, apparently, and Lowe went pretty big. Then Simmons one-upped him.
Lowe said people need to prepare for Bridges to get a four-year, $85 million contract extension. Then Simmons said he “wouldn’t blink” at $100 million.
Is Mikal Bridges worthy of a big contract?
Bridges’ growth in his third season is noteworthy. So the comps have come. With the caveat of if being before Friday night’s game against Chicago, a big one has come on Twitter-Kawhi Leonard.
Let’s stretch to stick with the Kawhi Leonard comp. 2013-14 was his third season, as shown above. The Spurs picked up his option for 2014-15 before that season. On July 1, 2015, he signed a five-year, $94.3 million max contract ($18.86 million per year).
Bridges is a strong finisher at the rim, can shoot the 3, he’s a strong defender and he’s shooting better from mid-range this season. So that invites the Leonard comparison, as aggressive as it is.
The Suns don’t have to pony up for Bridges just yet, but it might be on their radar. Time will tell if he gets $20-$25 million a year, but the idea has been put out there now.