Suns Rumors: Mikal Bridges' Next Contract Expected to 'Approach' $20M Annually

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistApril 30, 2021

Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges (25) against the Detroit Pistons during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Matt York/Associated Press

Contract extension negotiations between the Phoenix Suns and forward Mikal Bridges are reportedly expected to "approach" $20 million per season this summer.

ESPN's Zach Lowe reported the Suns could be facing a "money crunch" once the extensions for Bridges and DeAndre Ayton kick in, along with a potential new contract for Chris Paul

Ayton is likewise eligible for a contract extension this offseason. Lowe noted that most No. 1 overall picks "start negotiations at 'max or nothing,'" which may be a stretch given Ayton's relatively middling production through his first three NBA seasons.

Bridges, in the midst of a career-best season, may be emerging as a more important part of Phoenix's long-term future. A long, skilled defender who has the length to defend four positions, the 6'6", 209-pound Bridges has also developed into an increasingly reliable three-point marksman who doesn't need the ball to be effective. The No. 10 pick from the 2018 draft has proved to be a perfect fit with Paul and Devin Booker and become the type of glue player who goes underrated in the mainstream but is critical for long-term success.

Suns coach Monty Williams told Michael Pina of Sports Illustrated that Bridges is a "flagship of our developmental program."

"He's a young player. He's still developing, but that's what stands out to me—how quickly he's picked up some of the nuances of our offense," Williams said.

Bridges is exactly the type of player who may even continue develop max-level production if he works on being able to shoulder a greater load offensively. If the Suns can sign him to a long-term deal at or around the $20 million-per-season range, then it should be a no-brainer.