Atlantic Notes: Simmons, Clowney, Bridges, Barnes, Quickley

Ben Simmons‘ agent tells The New York Post’s Brian Lewis that his client will be 100 percent by the start of next season, but there’s plenty of uncertainty regarding his future. The Nets guard played just 15 games last season before he was shut down due to lingering back issues.

“Ben has been doing his rehab and prep work for the upcoming season in Miami. He is through the rehab stage and has moved on to strength and conditioning,” Simmons’ agent, Bernard Lee, said. “Because there have been so many starts and stops previously I’ll simply say he’s in a great place and the expectation is he’s able to start the season 100 percent of himself ready to go.”

Where Simmons fits into the team’s plans next season is unclear. Given his health issues, his value to the club at this point is centered around his $40.3MM expiring deal, which will open up ample cap space next summer if he’s not traded.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • With the Nets trading Mikal Bridges and going into a rebuild, Noah Clowney could get an expanded role in his second season, Lewis notes. Clowley was selected with the 21st pick in 2023. “It’s an opportunity [for me] so I can’t [waste it],” Clowney said. “No shade to [Bridges]; that’s my dog. I love him; but to see us going into more of a rebuilding standpoint, that’s an amazing opportunity to me, and I gotta try to take advantage of that.” Just trying to build with what we’ve got is my main focus. The picks, I leave that to the people who decide all that; I just try to do my part, play hard and be enthusiastic about everything we’re doing. So, opportunities will be fun.”
  • Bridges expressed his exhilaration over joining the Knicks, where expectations will be sky-high for their first championship since 1973, according to ESPN’s Chris Herring. “It’s surreal. Coming here, it makes me feel like a young kid again, with all the memories. When I think about basketball when I was young, and the old school, it was always the Knicks,” Bridges said during an introductory press conference. “That’s what you think about. MSG. The New York song. All that stuff.”
  • The Raptors are betting big that they can build around Scottie Barnes and Immanuel Quickley, Michael Grange of Sportsnet writes. Both players were rewarded with five-year contracts this offseason. To back the front office’s commitment, Barnes needs to play well enough to be considered for an All-NBA team and Quickley needs to become an All-Star level guard, Grange says.
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