Mikal Bridges talks trade to Knicks, excited to work with OG Anunoby

Mikal Bridges Knicks
Mar 23, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Mikal Bridges (1) gestures after making a three point shot in the second quarter against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Mikal Bridges is joining the Villanova reunion with the New York Knicks, but he appeared to be most excited to play with an Indiana alumnus. 

At his introductory press conference on Tuesday morning at team facilities, Bridges admitted to being a fan of small forward OG Anunoby, whom the Knicks acquired from the Toronto Raptors in December and re-signed to a five-year, $212.5 million contract last week.

“I’ve got relationships with a lot of people outside the Nova guys,” Bridges said (h/t SNY). “OG, I was excited when they signed him back. I’ve always been a fan of OG. I’ve said a lot of things about him when I was in Phoenix and Brooklyn as well.”

Consider it an added perk that he joins up with three of his college teammates in Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart, and Donte DiVincenzo — all of whom won a national championship at Villanova in 2016.

Of course, it feels a lot better being on their side rather than watching their success from across town. While Bridges missed the playoffs with the Brooklyn Nets last year, his trio of ex-Wildcat teammates advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals. 

“I was happy for those guys, but I wasn’t rooting for them,” Bridges joked. “I don’t need them to always have an edge on me. They play all day, they play too much.”

The Knicks needed to pay a pretty penny to the Nets to acquire Bridges’ services. For his 3-and-D capabilities out of the shooting guard position, team president Leon Rose had to part with five future first-round picks, a future first-round pick swap, a future second-rounder, Bojan Bogdanovic, Shake Milton, and Mamdi Diakite. 

Bridges was at Memphis Grizzlies forward Desmond Bane’s lakehouse in Dallas when he found out that he was getting shipped across the Big Apple to Madison Square Garden.

“It was just wild,” he said. “Not thinking that was going to happen. It was a crazy moment.”

The 27-year-old now joins a team that looks primed to make a push toward an NBA title in 2024-25. Not only does his ability fit well with head coach Tom Thibodeau’s defensive philosophy, but it adds another relentless dimension to a startling lineup that already boasted Anunoby. The two of them working together now makes them one of the best defensive tandems in the league.  Meanwhile, it helps the likes of Brunson and Julius Randle that he is capable of averaging 20 points per night.

It also provides a full-circle moment for a player who was chosen one pick after the former Knicks regime opted to go with Kevin Knox as the No. 9 pick at the 2018 NBA Draft. 

“I thought I was going to be here in 2018,” Bridges said. “I love everything about the team, Thibs, the crowd, the history… I feel like now, coming here, it makes me feel like a young kid again with all the memories. When you think basketball when I was young, you think of the old-school, you think of the Knicks, you think of MSG.”

For more on Mikal Bridges and the Knicks, visit AMNY.com