Miles Bridges didn't name Austin Rivers in his social media post criticizing NBA players turned podcasters who “don't play at all.” Considering the Charlotte Hornets forward's ugly recent past and other damaging off-court incidents involving some his teammates, it's pretty clear Bridges was calling out the veteran guard for his inflammatory recent comments about Charlotte's supporting cast.
Rivers, by the way, didn't specifically name Bridges, either. Given context of his remarks about the Hornets' surrounding franchise cornerstone LaMelo Ball with “troubled youth,” though, it's clear Rivers had Bridges in mind.
“Surround LaMelo around f***ing people that can help him tap into his potential, not deplete it, and I feel like that's what we're getting right now,” Rivers said on The Ringer. “‘Troubled youth' is like what's usually described…LaMelo hasn't done anything wrong, but it's like, what is the standard that's being set there? The whole thing there, and it's not LaMelo's fault…When [the league] is this young, you put yourself at cost of this s**t. But there's still teams that do it right. I don't see this problem in OKC—that team's pretty young, too. That s**t don't fly there.”
Bridges sat out all of last season after pleading no contest to one of felony domestic assault against his then-girlfriend in early November. The alleged attack, documented by Bridges' accuser on social media, reportedly occurred in front of the couple's children. The NBA finally hit Bridges with a suspension in April, causing him to miss the first 10 games of 2023-24 before he can return to the Hornets lineup for the first time in 2021-22.
Despite his status as an accused domestic abuser, Bridges clearly took umbrage at Rivers referencing Charlotte's “troubled youth.”
“Y'all hoopers get on these podcast and talk like y'all really like that,” he wrote on SnapChat. “Speaking on other teams like y'all know what's going on and most the people talking the most sh*t don't play at all. We gone see about all that this year on me.”
Bridges isn't the only young player on the Hornets' roster whose made the wrong headlines off the floor. Brandon Miller, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, brought his friend the gun that was used to murder a young mother on the Alabama campus last fall. Former lottery pick Kai Jones, meanwhile, recently posted a bizarre, potentially troubling live stream in which he directly called out teammates' perceived weaknesses.
Rivers, 31, spent last season with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He remains unsigned as training camps across the league tipoff in the next two weeks.