NEW YORK — Like the rest of the basketball world, Mikal Bridges was surprised when news came down that he had been traded to the Brooklyn Nets for Kevin Durant early Thursday morning.
But he wasn’t shocked.
“It’s KD,” Bridges said before Saturday’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers. “I get it. I 100 percent get it. That’s just how it is. I would rather say I’d rather be happy that I got traded for KD than probably like somebody else who I didn’t think would be good or something like that. So just being a realist at the end of the day.
“Obviously, I’m going to miss everyone there, miss my home, miss all my friends that’s back there, but I get it. You’re getting Kevin Durant, bro. Maybe I would have probably made that trade too.”
The 26-year-old Bridges kept his sense of humor about the deal. He said he initially got the news from former Suns teammate Damion Lee, who called him early Thursday morning after the news broke.
“He was like, ‘Bro, I’m sorry to see this and that,'” Bridges said. “And I was so confused. I was just chillin’, like, ‘What are you talking about?’ And he was like, ‘You got traded for KD.’ And I was like, ‘Get out of here!’ And I went to Twitter and refreshed it and it was right there.”
After months of speculation, Cam Johnson, who was also included in the deal to Brooklyn, also said he wasn’t stunned when the deal finally went down.
“Looking back at it, new ownership [with the Suns], there was a lot of excitement, so I think that kind of put some fuel to the fire of making a move like that,” Johnson said. “So I wouldn’t say I was too shocked by it. Anything’s fair game. Come to this trade deadline with a rumor like that swirling, with Kyrie [Irving] departing, you just have a feeling that maybe something’s kicking up.
“So I took the news and at first it was like, ‘Whoa!’ But then, quickly, it was back to normal and understanding that we have work to do, that we need to get out here, get acclimated with the guys, the team, the area. And then just a lot of excitement for this opportunity, it’s a great opportunity.”
For Bridges, he had worried that Thursday’s game against the Chicago Bulls would be the first game he had ever missed as a pro. It was a tough pill for the swingman to follow, so Johnson tried to “keep his spirits up.”
However, it will not be counted as a missed game because Bridges had not yet reported to the Nets.
“He was shaking,” Johnson said with a smile. “He was like, ‘I got to get out there! I got to get out there!’ … I’m like, ‘Calm down, man. Calm down. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.’ So … I think that was a little hard for him.”
Johnson tried to get Bridges to look on the bright side, pointing out that the Suns had played one more game than the Nets so far this season.
“So if you look at it, you actually might finish playing 83 games this year,” Bridges said. “It might be a little bonus. I’m like, ‘OK!'”