Atlantic Notes: Simmons, Embiid, A. Brooks, R. Williams

Nets guard Ben Simmons is unlikely to be ready for the start of the playoffs, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Although Simmons has been at practice more since receiving an injection last month to address a recurring back issue, he’s still not close to being ready, Vardon adds.

Moke Hamilton of wonders if it’s just a matter of time before the Nets formally rule out Simmons for the season. The team continues to talk about the possibility of a return, but if Simmons can’t play during the regular season, throwing him out there to make his Nets debut during the postseason may not be a great idea — especially given the nature of his exit from Philadelphia and the playoff disappointment that led to it.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Speaking to Chris Mannix of, Sixers star Joel Embiid shared some insight into what he was thinking in the weeks and months leading up to February’s trade of Simmons. If Simmons was going to be dealt, Embiid wanted it to be for a win-now return. “If he comes back, we got to take him back and try to go win a championship. If he still wants to get traded, we got to do whatever is necessary to make sure that we don’t go and trade for, I don’t know, a first-round pick, or a second-round pick, or whatever, because what does that do for me?” Embiid said. “I’m not going to be able to work with a bunch of first-round picks or second-round picks. So, to me, I always looked at the bigger picture.”
  • When they signed him last weekend, the Raptors used a portion of their mid-level exception to give Armoni Brooks at $250K salary for the rest of 2021/22, tweets Keith Smith of Spotrac. A minimum-salary deal for Brooks only would’ve paid him about $137K for the remainder of this season. Brooks has a $50K partial guarantee on his minimum salary for next season — that guarantee would increase to $250K on August 1, and the deal would become fully guaranteed if he makes the opening-night roster.
  • After undergoing meniscus surgery on Wednesday, Celtics big man Robert Williams didn’t require much recovery time at home — he was back at the team’s facility on Thursday, tweets Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston. He’s in the meetings, in the gym, in good spirits,” head coach Ime Udoka said. “And so getting him around and just getting that flexibility back in, off top. And then we can kind of build up pretty quickly from there.”
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