Phoenix’s run to the Finals was fueled by a bevy of young talent. The Suns have reportedly ensured another piece of that talent will remain with the team long-term.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the franchise has come to terms with versatile swingman Mikal Bridges on a four-year, $90 million extension that will begin in the 2022-23 season. Bridges, the 10th overall pick of the 2018 Draft, would have entered restricted free agency next summer had he not agreed to an extension by Oct. 18.
Phoenix Suns G/F Mikal Bridges has agreed to a four-year, $90 million rookie contract extension, his agents Sam Goldfeder and Jordan Gertler of @Excelbasketball tell ESPN. Deal is fully guaranteed.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 17, 2021
The 25-year-old Bridges has emerged as one of the league’s best young perimeter defenders while developing a dependable outside shot. The 6-foot-6 forward averaged 1.1 steals, 0.9 blocks, and 42.5% shooting from 3-point range last season. He scored 27 points in Game 2 of the Finals, the Suns’ last win before falling 4-2 to the Bucks.
Phoenix’s attention now shifts more fully to Deandre Ayton, the No. 1 pick of the same 2018 Draft in which Bridges was selected. Ayton and the Suns have yet to come to terms, with Monday’s deadline looming before he would head to restricted free agency next offseason.
After an up-and-down regular season, Ayton blossomed during Phoenix’s postseason run as an elite finisher and rebounder (15.8 ppg, 11.8 rpg, 65.8 FG%) while providing enough defensive versatility to solve nearly every matchup they encountered during their Finals run.