July 22, 2024

Jay Wright Reacts to Mikal Bridges’ Trade to Knicks, Reunion with Villanova Teammates | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 09:  Head coach Jay Wright of the Villanova Wildcats talks with Mikal Bridges #25 during the semifinals of the 2018 Big East Mens Basketball against the Butler Bulldogs at Madison Square Garden on March 9, 2018 in New York City.  The Wildcats won 87-68.  Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Jay Wright;Mikal Bridges

Mitchell Layton

Former Villanova head men’s basketball coach Jay Wright commented Wednesday on Mikal Bridges reuniting with several of his former Villanova teammates as a member of the New York Knicks.

After ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Tuesday night that the Brooklyn Nets agreed to send Bridges to the Knicks for Bojan Bogdanović, four unprotected first-round draft picks, the Milwaukee Bucks’ top-four protected 2025 first-round pick an unprotected first-round pick swap in 2028 and a 2025 second-round selection, Wright wrote the following on X:

With the Knicks, Bridges will once again get to play alongside Jalen Brunson, Donte DiVincenzo and Josh Hart. Collectively, the quartet led Villanova to a national championship in 2016, and after Hart went to the NBA, Brunson, DiVincenzo and Bridges won another national title in 2018.

While there have been a few occasions of three college teammates playing on the same team in the NBA, it appears as though the Knicks will be the first NBA team to roster four college teammates at the same time.

Adding to the significance is the fact that Bridges, Brunson, DiVincenzo and Hart will all be key contributors for the Knicks who play major minutes.

With Brunson, DiVincenzo and Hart playing alongside the likes of Julius Randle and OG Anunoby in 2023-24, the Knicks were the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 50-32 record.

They reached the second round of the playoffs, but they couldn’t get any further due largely to some key players going down with injuries, including Randle and Anunoby.

Bridges, Brunson, DiVincenzo and Hart give the Knicks a strong core, plus Randle, Miles McBride and Mitchell Robinson are under contract for next season, and Wojnarowski reported that New York is “determined” to re-sign Anunoby in free agency as well.

Wojnarowski added that the Knicks are “loading up on wings” in an attempt to take down the Boston Celtics, who had the best record in the NBA this past season and won a championship.

In Bridges, the Knicks are getting one of the best two-way wings in the NBA, and a player with NBA Finals experience, as he went the distance with the Phoenix Suns in 2021.

The 27-year-old veteran enjoyed one of the best seasons of his career in 2023-24 as a member of the Nets, averaging 19.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 2.7 three-pointers made and 1.0 steal per game.

Perhaps most importantly, he is one of the most durable players in the league, as he has never missed a game in six NBA seasons.

Injuries were perhaps the biggest thing holding the Knicks back last season, but they can count on Bridges to be on the court every night, plus he already has built-in chemistry with many of the team’s top players.

Many pieces have perfectly fallen into place in order for the Knicks to make the Villanova reunion happen, and it will now be up to the players to prove that they can have the same level of success together in the NBA as they did in college.