After a breakout 2022-23 campaign, Mikal Bridges’ return to the hardwood will come sooner than expected. The Brooklyn Nets forward has committed to play for Team USA in the FIBA World Cup in late August, according to Shams Charania.
Bridges joins a list of commitments that already includes Anthony Edwards, Jalen Brunson, Tyrese Haliburton, Austin Reaves and Bobby Portis.
Following the blockbuster trade that sent Kevin Durant to the Suns at this year's deadline, Bridges thrived in a lead-scoring role with Brooklyn, averaging 27.7 points on 47/38/89 shooting splits. The former lottery pick scored 30 or more 12 times in 31 games with the Nets after reaching the total just twice in four-and-a-half years with Phoenix. Despite his increased offensive load, he also continued to flash the high-level defensive skillset that made him a fan favorite in Phoenix.
Mikal Bridges dropped 42 PTS in the Brooklyn W 🔥 pic.twitter.com/hYecncLVb5
— NBA (@NBA) April 1, 2023
Mikal Bridges further cemented his iron man status in 2022-23, appearing in 83 games. The Villanova product holds the NBA’s longest active games played streak with 392 consecutive appearances.
The 26-year-old is under contract with the Nets at $23.3 million annually for the next three seasons. With the new CBA making it far more difficult to build rosters with three stars, Bridges' contract and growing skillset make him one of the league's top assets.
USA Basketball managing director Grant Hill, coach Steve Kerr and general manager Sean Ford are leading the charge of assembling a 12-man roster for the upcoming tournament. Team USA will open training camp on Auust 3 in Las Vegas before its first exhibition game against Puerto Rico on August 7. They will then make stops in Spain and the United Emirates before opening World Cup play on August 26 against New Zealand.