Nets star Mikal Bridges addressed his desire to stay with the team after Monday's firing of coach Jacque Vaughn. Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports Feb 3, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Mikal Bridges (1) in a game against the Philadelphia 76ers during the first quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Monday’s firing of coach Jacque Vaughn was the latest move in what’s been a time of great transition for the Brooklyn Nets. That transition got kicked into overdrive a little more than a year ago when Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant were dealt at the 2023 NBA Trade Deadline.

But, at least based on comments made Tuesday, Mikal Bridges — who was acquired in the Durant deal — wants to stay in Brooklyn.

Bridges was asked on Tuesday if he wanted to stay in Brooklyn. He made it clear that “things ain’t going good right now” but that he “wasn’t raised when things get tough to want to leave and get out.”

After saying that, Bridges turned his attention to the New York Knicks. It makes sense. New York is comfortably in playoff position. Additionally, three Knicks, Jalen Brunson, Donte DiVincenzo and Josh Hart, were all college teammates of Bridges at Villanova. Despite that, Bridges isn’t looking to bolt to the crosstown rivals.

“I know people might want to think about different situations and teams. Obviously, I’ve got my boys over there in New York and stuff, so everybody goes with that. But I never was the type of guy to ever put more on my shoulders, then things get tough, it’s time to cry out and get out. Obviously, there will be frustration. You point to frustration, you get frustrated throughout the season. That’s just how I am and how people are that really want to win and compete.

“But I’m here now and want to stay here. I’m gonna keep grinding and get to wherever we’ve gotta get to win. That’s what I’m here for. I’m here to win. All the other **** don’t mean nothing. The accolades. It all comes with it.”

It has been a tough season for the Nets. Brooklyn entered the All-Star break at 21-33, 2.5 games behind the Atlanta Hawks, who hold the final Eastern Conference play-in spot. The good news for the Nets is that no other teams are between Atlanta and Brooklyn. So, a good finish to the regular season can potentially make a play-in spot a plausible goal. But the Nets lost five of six entering the break. So, they have a lot of work to do.

Bridges has two more years on his contract. Time will tell if he’s going to be a long-term building block or another piece for the team to trade. But Tuesday’s comments can at least give the team and its fans reason for optimism in what’s been a rough season.

[Michael Scotto on Twitter/X]

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