Nets Rumors

Nets’ T.J. Warren Not Expected To Return Before November

New Nets forward T.J. Warren, who continues to work his way back to full health after missing most of the last two seasons due to foot problems, won’t be available when the regular season begins next month, head coach Steve Nash said today (link via Nick Friedell of ESPN).

According to Nash, it didn’t come as a surprise to the Nets that Warren’s recovery timeline will extend into the season, and they’re encouraged by the progress he has made. The 29-year-old is expected to be out at least through October.

“I think we’re going to assess again in November, but he’s doing great,” Nash said. “He’s building up. We knew this going in. And we also don’t want to take big risks with T.J. because he’s been out for two years. So it’s a process that we want to be very confident in and make a firm organization not to rush him.”

Warren appeared in just four games in 2020/21 and didn’t play at all in ’21/22 due to consecutive stress fractures in his left foot. He said on Media Day that his foot has fully healed, but that he still needs to do more rehab work to receive full clearance from team doctors.

Once Warren is ready to go, he’ll provide the Nets with another dynamic scorer in the frontcourt. In three seasons from 2017-20, Warren averaged 19.3 PPG on .509/.379/.791 shooting in 175 games (32.6 MPG) for the Suns and Pacers.

While the Nets are prepared not to have Warren in their opening night lineup, Nash shared a more positive update on Seth Curry, who is making his way back from ankle surgery. According to Friedell, Nash told reporters on Wednesday that Curry is expected to be ready for the regular season and might be able to suit up for the team’s final preseason contest.

Nets Notes: Nash, Durant, Morris, Watanabe

Asked on Monday about Kevin Durant‘s reported offseason ultimatum to the Nets to either trade him or fire GM Sean Marks and head coach Steve Nash, Nash downplayed the issue, likening it to a family squabble. The two-time NBA MVP offered a more in-depth answer on Tuesday when asked again about his relationship with Durant, as Nick Friedell of ESPN details.

“We’re good,” Nash said. “Ever since we talked, it’s been like nothing’s changed. I have a long history with Kevin. I love the guy. Families have issues. We had a moment and it’s behind us. That’s what happens. It’s a common situation in the league.”

Nash, who said he wasn’t “overly surprised” or “overly concerned” about the way the Durant saga played out, also pushed back on the idea that the star forward really wanted him fired.

“I never thought that was 100 percent,” Nash said, per Friedell. “There was a lot of things. It’s not black and white like that, so there was a lot of factors. A lot of things behind the scenes. A lot of things reported are not accurate. A lot of things that are reported are not 100 percent accurate. So you get fragmented bits of truth. You get things that are flat out not true. It happens. … So I never really get caught up in all that stuff.”

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • New Nets forward Markieff Morris said the perception around the NBA is that last year’s Brooklyn team was “soft,” per Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Morris is hoping to bring grit and toughness to this year’s roster, and Nash believes the veteran will have an important voice in the locker room. “Markieff is a need for us, his presence, his personality,” Nash said. “He has a voice, he has an experience, he has an understanding of the game. That’s a need. We need guys that can speak to the group.”
  • Camp invitee Yuta Watanabe told Japanese reporters this week that he hopes to be able to play a three-and-D role for the Nets this season, as Jordan Greene of NetsDaily writes. Watanabe, who is on non-guaranteed contract, isn’t a lock to make Brooklyn’s regular season roster — assuming the team retains its 12 players on guaranteed salaries and Morris, Watanabe would have to either beat out Edmond Sumner for the 14th spot or hope the club carries a 15th man despite the additional luxury tax penalty.
  • In case you missed it, we passed along several of the most notable quotes from the Nets’ Media Day earlier this week.

Nets Re-Sign RaiQuan Gray

The Nets have officially set their training camp roster by re-signing 2021 second-round pick RaiQuan Gray, the team announced in a press release late on Monday night.

The No. 59 overall pick in the 2021 draft out of Florida State, Gray signed a G League contract last fall and spent his first professional season with the Long Island Nets, Brooklyn’s affiliate. In 26 regular season NBAGL games (22.8 MPG), the 6’8″ forward averaged 6.3 PPG, 6.4 RPG, and 3.0 APG on .441/.240/.821 shooting.

Brooklyn initially signed and then waived Gray earlier this month. The team did the same thing with another 2021 second-rounder, Marcus Zegarowski, and has now brought back both players on training camp deals.

There has been no word from the Nets on what their plans for Gray and Zegarowski are, but our best guess is that the team reached a compromise with the duo — if they agreed to return to Long Island for a second year, the Nets would forfeit their exclusive NBA rights to the two players and re-sign them to Exhibit 10 contracts, ensuring they’ll receive bonuses worth up to $50K if they spend at least 60 days with Brooklyn’s G League affiliate.

Again, that’s just speculation, so we’ll see how things play out in the coming weeks, but it would be an uphill battle for Gray or Zegarowski to claim a spot on Brooklyn’s 15-man regular season roster. The team is carrying 12 players on fully guaranteed salaries, with Markieff Morris and Edmond Sumner looking like good bets to join those 12 on the regular season squad.

The Nets may leave their 15th spot open when the season begins to maximize their flexibility and avoid further increasing their tax bill. If they do carry a 15th man, Yuta Watanabe may be the favorite to claim that spot.

Nets Notes: Durant, Nash, Irving, Curry, Warren, Simmons

Addressing reporters at the Nets‘ media day on Monday, Kevin Durant explained that he requested a trade this offseason because he had some “doubts” about whether the Nets were building a legitimate championship culture (Twitter link via Tania Ganguli of The New York Times).

“I wanted everybody to be held accountable for their habits as a basketball player,” Durant said, per Mark W. Sanchez of The New York Post. “I think a lot of stuff was getting swept under the rug because we’re injured or this guy’s not around or just the circumstances. I thought we could have fought through that a little bit more and focused on the guys that were here a little bit more.

“When I went out with the injury, we lost 10 in a row. And I’m like, ‘We shouldn’t be losing some of these games that we lost, regardless of who’s on the floor.’ So I was more so worried about how we’re approaching every day as a basketball team. And I felt like we could have fought through a lot of the stuff that I felt that held us back.”

Durant said he wasn’t disappointed not to be dealt and that he’s committed to the Nets going forward (Twitter links via Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic and Adam Zagoria of He also admitted that he wasn’t surprised to remain a Net, since general manager Sean Marks and the team’s front office set a sky-high asking price.

“I know I’m that good, that you’re just not going to give me away,” Durant said.

In his own media session, Marks said that he feels good about where things stand with Durant, adding that if the star forward “still wanted out, he wouldn’t be here” (Twitter link via Vorkunov). He also said the Nets made a legitimate effort to trade Durant, though he admitted he was fielding outside inquiries more than he was instigating discussions.

“Yeah, absolutely we made those calls and we at least picked up the phone when teams called us,” Marks told YES Network (Twitter link via Zagoria). “I gotta be honest, I wasn’t making a whole lot of outgoing calls, I mean why would you do that?”

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • Steve Nash downplayed the fact that Durant reportedly called for the head coach’s job as part of his ultimatum to the Nets, likening it to a family squabble and telling reporters that he and KD got together to talk it out (Twitter link via Brian Lewis of The New York Post).
  • Kyrie Irving, who referred to Brooklyn’s summer as a “clusterf–k,” said he came close to leaving the Nets before picking up his player option, adding that he had some other options, but “not many,” Sanchez writes for The Post. Irving admitted that potential suitors had concerns about his availability and his commitment.
  • Interestingly, Irving stated that his decision to remain unvaccinated against COVID-19 cost him a lucrative long-term extension offer from the Nets during the 2021 offseason. “I gave up four years, $100-something million deciding to be unvaccinated, and that was the decision,” Irving said, per Sanchez.
  • A pair of Nets wings are still awaiting full clearance following injuries, according to Nick Friedell of ESPN (Twitter links). Seth Curry, who underwent ankle surgery in May, said today that he’s at “85-90 percent” and isn’t fully cleared to participate in camp. Meanwhile, T.J. Warren said the foot injury that cost him all of the 2021/22 season is fully healed, but he still needs to do more rehab work to get cleared by team doctors.
  • Ben Simmons is “ready to go” and will be a full participant in training camp, he said today (Twitter link via Friedell). As long as he remains healthy through the preseason, the plan is for the former No. 1 overall pick to be on the floor when the Nets’ season begins, tweets Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. Simmons also said he’s willing to play center for his new team (Twitter link via Zagoria).

Nets Sign Marcus Zegarowski

The Nets have signed guard Marcus Zegarowski, who was drafted with the No. 49 overall pick in 2021, the team announced today in a press release. The terms of the agreement weren’t released. Brooklyn also signed and waived Zegarowski roughly one week ago.

Zegarowski, 24, played 92 games across three collegiate seasons at Creighton leading up to the 2021 draft. He averaged 14.1 points per game, shooting 47% from the floor, 42% from three-point range and 77% from the free throw line.

Zegarowski played with the Nets’ G League affiliate in 2021/22. The 6’2″ guard appeared in eight games, averaging 10.1 points per contest. He shot just 36% during those outings.

We’ll have to wait for clarity on Zegarowski’s situation, but the first contract he signed this offseason was likely his required tender, a non-guaranteed contract the Nets had to offer in order to retain his draft rights. By waiving Zegarowski after he signed that tender, Brooklyn gave up his draft rights. Bringing him back now suggests he may still be in the team’s plans as an affiliate player at Long Island.

Brooklyn has 19 players under contract entering training camp, which includes the team’s two-way players, Alondes Williams and David Duke.

Ben Simmons Felt Lack Of Support From Sixers

Ben Simmons talked candidly about his experiences with the Sixers during an appearance on JJ Redick’s podcast that was released on Thursday. Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer shares some of the highlights of the interview, including what Simmons believes was a lack of understanding from the organization about his mental state.

“I was in such a bad place where I was like, [expletive], I’m trying to get here and you guys are, like, throwing all these other things at me to where you’re not helping,” he said. “And that’s all I wanted was help. I didn’t feel like I got it from coaches, teammates — I won’t say all teammates, because there’s great guys on that team that did reach out and are still my friends — but I didn’t feel like I got that, and it was just a tough place for me.”

The podcast marks Simmons’ first public statements since asking the Sixers for a trade last summer, other than his press conference after being dealt to the Nets in February. Physical and psychological issues prevented Simmons from playing for Philadelphia again, and persistent back pain kept him from taking the court for Brooklyn after the trade.

Simmons announced a holdout before the start of last year’s training camp, but he eventually returned to the team for two practices. His relationship with the Sixers soured even further after coach Doc Rivers kicked him out of the second practice, but Simmons insists he was “trying to do the right thing” and wasn’t mentally prepared to play.

“I actually spoke to Doc before [the practice I was kicked out],” Simmons said. “I was like, ‘Doc, I’m not ready. Mentally, I’m not ready. Please, just understand that.’ I tried to let him know prior, and he was like, ‘Well, I’m going to put you in, anyway.’ I’m like, ‘All right.’ He told me to get in. I looked at him. It was like one minute into practice, like, ‘Ben, get in.’

“I’m like, first of all, no one’s doing that. You’re doing this on purpose. And that’s how I felt, too. It seems like everyone’s just trying to [mess] with me now. I’m getting fined for not lifting weights, but physically I’m one of the strongest guys on the [expletive] team. So now they’re fining me for little things. It was just a build-up. Obviously, I didn’t handle things the right way. But, also, the team didn’t, either, and the people who had that power.”

Simmons also addressed a few other controversies, including his decision to pass rather than dunk on a critical play in his last game in Philadelphia vs. Atlanta (he admits it was a mistake, but explains what he was seeing in the moment) and media reports that he had a cell phone in his pocket during his only full practice last fall (he says it was a rolled-up jersey).

He talked about the fines the Sixers levied against him in the wake of his holdout, saying his mental condition was more important than financial concerns, and said the team didn’t do enough to reach out to him before making plans to fly a contingent to Los Angeles in an effort to resolve the dispute.

Simmons also expressed optimism about a fresh start with the Nets, saying New York City is an ideal spot to wind up after all the turmoil in Philadelphia.

“I literally did not care about who was getting traded for who,” Simmons said. “In that moment, I actually broke down. I had to have a moment by myself, because I was sitting in the office. I had family around and time was going down, and then it happened. It was just a shock, because I spent six years in Philly. I have friends there. Now you’re telling me I’m going to New York. My family’s there, too. It was very emotional for me all at once. I had to just sit down and gather myself.”

Nets Sign, Waive RaiQuan Gray

The Nets signed and then waived 2021 second-round pick RaiQuan Gray, according to the official transaction log at

The No. 59 overall pick in last year’s draft out of Florida State, Gray signed a G League contract and spent his first professional season with the Long Island Nets, Brooklyn’s affiliate. In 26 regular season NBAGL games (22.8 MPG), the 6’8″ forward averaged 6.3 PPG, 6.4 RPG, and 3.0 APG on .441/.240/.821 shooting.

The Nets still held Gray’s exclusive NBA rights entering this offseason. However, teams are required to submit a tender – essentially a non-guaranteed one-year contract – to players whose draft rights they hold in order to retain those rights. It appears that Gray signed that tender and then was waived by Brooklyn, freeing him up to seek new opportunities.

This is essentially the same thing that happened with another Nets second-rounder, Marcus Zegarowski, earlier this week. Zegarowski is now an unrestricted free agent and Gray will join him on the open market, assuming he clears waivers on Saturday. There’s no indication that either player received an Exhibit 10 contract from Brooklyn, so I wouldn’t count on them returning to Long Island in 2022/23.

The Nets still have 18 players under contract with training camp around the corner, including 12 on guaranteed salaries, four on partially guaranteed or non-guaranteed deals, and a pair on two-way contracts.

T.J. Warren Could Provide Scoring Punch For Reserves

  • T.J. Warren could be the Nets‘ leading scorer off the bench if he can overcome the foot problems that have plagued him for the past two seasons, Alex Schiffer of The Athletic writes in an overview of Brooklyn’s roster. Warren averaged 19.8 points per game and shot 40.3% from three-point range during his last healthy season. Schiffer believes the team is strong everywhere but center, and he points to Dwight Howard as a potential low-cost addition who could provide experience in the middle.

Nets Hoping Depth Helps Overcome Volatility

  • The Nets have quietly constructed a roster that is deeper and more talented – especially on the wing – than any of the other iterations of the club since Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving arrived in 2019, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. However, Vardon cautions that the volatility of the team’s stars and the strength of the Eastern Conference may complicate Brooklyn’s efforts to seriously contend for a title.