Nets Rumors

New York Notes: Anunoby, DiVincenzo, Simmons, Graham

Forward OG Anunoby has been cleared to do some on-court work, but still isn’t doing any contact, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau told ESPN’s Tim Bontemps (Twitter link) and other media members on Thursday.

Anunoby underwent elbow surgery earlier this month. At that time, he was ruled out for at least three weeks. He hasn’t suited up since Jan. 27.

Isaiah Hartenstein is returning to action against Golden State on Thursday evening after missing Tuesday’s game against New Orleans due to Achilles soreness. Jalen Brunson, who also sat out Tuesday due to neck spasms, will play tonight too, Steve Popper of Newsday tweets.

We have more on the New York teams:

  • Donte DiVincenzo‘s impact on the Knicks’ offense during this injury-filled stretch can’t be overstated, Popper writes in a subscriber-only story for Newsday. DiVincenzo is averaging 22.2 points and 3.2 assists this month.
  • The Nets’ Ben Simmons is sitting out against the Hawks on Thursday due to left leg soreness, Ian Begley of SNY TV tweets. Simmons has appeared in eight games this month, averaging 5.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists in 18.8 minutes.
  • With the Nets losing assistant general manager Jeff Peterson, who is heading to the Hornets as their head of basketball operations, Pelicans assistant GM Bryson Graham could be a candidate to replace him, according to Net Income. Graham is currently working under GM Trajan Langdon, who was also a candidate for the Hornets job.

Hornets To Hire Jeff Peterson As New Head Of Basketball Operations

Nets executive Jeff Peterson will become the Hornets‘ new head of basketball operations, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

The report is confirmed by Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter link), who states that rumors regarding Peterson potentially coming to Charlotte began last summer.

Peterson, 35, worked under Hornets co-owner Rick Schnall in Atlanta early in his career, Wojnarowski notes. Schnall was a minority owner with the Hawks when Peterson started as an intern and worked his way up to assistant general manager within f0ur years.

Peterson also established a strong relationship with Charlotte coach Steve Clifford, who served as a coaching consultant for Brooklyn during the 2021/22 season, Wojnarowski adds.

Sources tell Wojnarowski that the Hornets talked to roughly a dozen candidates before deciding on Peterson. He has been with the Nets since 2019, which is when he became an assistant GM under Sean Marks.

Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link) points out that the Hornets already have some assets in place for their rebuilding project as Peterson takes over. LaMelo Ball and Brandon Miller appear to be long-term foundational pieces, and Charlotte will have a high lottery pick in this year’s draft, along with Houston’s second-round selection, which is likely to fall in the top 40.

Nets Notes: Roberts, Play-In, Bridges, Thomas

Long Island Nets guard Terry Roberts was shot in the chest on Sunday outside a bar in Philadelphia, but after arriving at a local hospital in critical condition, he has since been taken off a ventilator and is expected to recover, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post.

Terry Roberts was the victim of a crime on Sunday morning in Philadelphia, and we are in the process of gathering more information about the incident,” Brooklyn’s NBA G League affiliate said in a statement.

He is currently in stable condition, and he is expected to make a full recovery. Our thoughts are with him and family at this time. Due to the ongoing law enforcement investigation, we will have no further comment.”

As the statement indicates, the shooting is still under investigation, but police confirmed Roberts was not involved in the altercation. The former Georgia guard went undrafted last year and has spent his first pro season playing for Long Island.

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • While Brooklyn has struggled mightily the past few months, the team still has a shot at a play-in berth, currently trailing No. 10 Atlanta by four games with 24 games remaining. As Lewis writes in another story, the Nets host the Hawks on Thursday and Saturday, presenting an opportunity to gain ground — or nearly fall out of the postseason picture altogether. “We’ve got to win both of the games,” backup center Day’Ron Sharpe said. “We need both of them, because we’re trying to get into the playoffs. So we’re going to come in and fully focus so we can win both of the games so that we can make the playoffs.
  • A big part of the team’s most recent stretch of poor play, particularly on offense, is due to the struggles of Mikal Bridges, Lewis adds. The Nets’ leading scorer has been in a miserable slump of late, including missing 26 of his last 28 three-pointers, and has a plus/minus of minus-78 over the past five games. “I feel like when I’m open, you know, I’m going to take threes. They all feel good, it’s just not going in unfortunately, which is not fun,” Bridges said. “Just continue to take what the defense gives me, keep being aggressive. Only way to get out of this slump is to keep shooting.”
  • Brooklyn’s second-leading scorer, Cam Thomas, will be sidelined for Thursday’s contest with a right ankle/midfoot sprain, according to Lewis (Twitter links). He’s considered day-to-day, which confirms the injury is relatively minor.

Timberwolves’ Lloyd Among Hornets’ Front Office Candidates

Timberwolves executive Matt Lloyd is among the “prime names” to watch as the Hornets seek a new head of basketball operations, Marc Stein reports in his latest article at Substack.

Lloyd is the senior vice president of basketball operations under Tim Connelly in Minnesota. He was one of Connelly’s first hires back in 2022 after having previously served in Orlando’s front office as an assistant general manager, interim GM, and VP of basketball operations. Lloyd also had a lengthy stint in the Bulls’ front office earlier in his career.

A report earlier this month indicated that Hornets president of basketball operations and general manager Mitch Kupchak would be moving into an advisory role with the franchise. While Kupchak continues to serve as the head of basketball operations while the team searches for his replacement, the expectations is that Charlotte will make a hire by the end of the regular season.

Stein also names Pelicans general manager Trajan Langdon and Nets assistant GM Jeff Peterson as “prime” contenders for the Hornets job. Both Langdon and Peterson were identified as candidates in multiple previous reports, with Rod Boone of the Charlotte Observer referring to Langdon as one of the potential frontrunners.

Langdon is the No. 2 executive in New Orleans’ front office under David Griffin and has been connected to other general manager jobs in the past. Langdon withdrew from the Kings’ front office search following some initial interest from Sacramento back in 2020 and interviewed for the Wizards’ top job in 2023.

According to Stein, the Nets are believed to have strong interest in retaining Peterson as a top lieutenant under Sean Marks and may offer him a promotion and/or a raise, which was previously reported. Peterson was in Atlanta’s front office when one of the new Hornets co-owners, Rick Schnall, was part of the Hawks’ ownership group.

Sixers general manager Elton Brand was named as another possible frontrunner for the Hornets’ position, but a report two weeks ago indicated that he would remain in Philadelphia rather than pursuing the top job in Charlotte.

Injury Notes: Embiid, Ayton, Thomas, George

The Sixers continue to believe that star center Joel Embiid, who underwent surgery on the meniscus in his left knee earlier this month, should be able to return to the court before the end of the regular season, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on Tuesday during an appearance on NBA Today (YouTube link).

“They still are optimistic that they can get him back,” Wojnarowski said. “I think there’s some hope that they can get him back on the court by sometime in late March, back starting to get into condition. The goal here isn’t necessarily to try to bring him back and see how many regular season games you might be able to win with him. The goal is to get him as healthy as he can be for the postseason.”

When the Sixers announced Embiid’s procedure on February 6, they said he would be reevaluated in four weeks. As Wojnarowski notes, that means we’re still about a week away from the team providing a more official update on the reigning MVP’s progress and possible timeline.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • X-rays on Deandre Ayton‘s sprained right hand came back negative, Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups said on Tuesday after Ayton left the team’s loss to Miami early (Twitter link via Sean Highkin of Rose Garden Report). However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Portland center is in the clear. “I think there will be some further testing because he was in quite a bit of pain,” Billups said (link via ESPN).
  • Nets guard Cam Thomas underwent an MRI on his sprained right ankle on Tuesday, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. While the results haven’t yet been announced, Thomas said on Monday that he doesn’t believe this ankle injury is as severe as the one that cost him nine games in November.
  • The Clippers will be without star forward Paul George for a second straight game due to left knee soreness, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Head coach Tyronn Lue said that George didn’t practice on Tuesday and wouldn’t be available on Wednesday vs. the Lakers after having sat out Sunday’s loss to Sacramento.

Nets Notes: Thomas, Simmons, Ollie, Offense

Nets guard Cam Thomas was forced to exit Monday’s game early due to a right ankle sprain and has been ruled out for Tuesday’s contest in Orlando, but he said that he doesn’t think this injury is as significant as the one that cost him nearly a month earlier in the season, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post.

“That’s the way it feels, less severe,” said Thomas, who missed nine games in November due to a left ankle sprain. “I should be fine.”

According to Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report and TNT (Twitter link), Thomas underwent an X-ray on the injured ankle on Monday night and the results came back negative.

“Yeah, I mean I’m able to walk on it, so it’s not bad,” Thomas said. “We’ll take it day by day. But it’s not as bad as last time, so I’m not really concerned.”

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • As expected, Ben Simmons has been ruled out for Tuesday’s game vs. the Magic due to left lower back injury maintenance, tweets Lewis. Simmons didn’t suffer a setback in his 14 minutes of action on Monday, but hasn’t yet been cleared to play both ends of back-to-back sets. “I think I’m getting closer,” Simmons said on Monday. “So hopefully (soon).”
  • Kevin Ollie earned his first win as the Nets’ head coach on Monday, as Brooklyn registered a 111-86 victory over the Grizzlies.“Yeah, I got the game ball. It’ll go in my office first. Definitely gonna touch it and put it up for my mom in heaven and my sister in heaven,” Ollie said after the win, according to Lewis. “I know they were watching over me in this first win. So definitely gonna raise it up and toast to them.” Ollie replaced Jacque Vaughn over the All-Star break and lost his first two games as the Nets’ interim head coach.
  • Prior to Monday’s game, the Nets’ 105.5 offensive rating in February was tied for the worst mark in the NBA. However, as Lewis details for The New York Post, Ollie was confident that Brooklyn’s recent offensive struggles were more about players missing shots they’d normally make rather than a fundamental issue with the team’s system. “It’s just still understanding each other’s strengths,” Ollie said after Saturday’s loss in Minnesota. “… The offense was giving us great looks. I mean, (Cameron Johnson) missed a couple of them, perfect plays and perfect ball movement, peel and play, which just is what we want. So we’ve just got to make sure that we make those shots, and I think it’ll turn around.” The Nets scored 119.4 points per 100 possessions in Monday’s win.

Injury Notes: Paul, Santos, Simmons, Isaac, Sasser

Future Hall-of-Famer Chris Paul is not listed on the Warriorsinjury report for Tuesday’s contest vs. the Wizards, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. That means the 38-year-old will be active for tomorrow’s game, which will be his first contest since January 5.

Paul has been sidelined for most of the past two months after fracturing his left hand, which required surgery. While he was mentioned in several rumors leading up to the trade deadline, the Warriors decided to keep him for the home stretch of the 2023/24 season.

In his first season with Golden State, the 11-time All-NBA point guard has averaged 8.9 PPG, 7.2 APG, 3.8 RPG and 1.1 SPG on .424/.361/.833 shooting in 32 games (27.6 MPG), mostly off the bench (11 starts).

Here are a few more injury notes from around the NBA:

  • The lone member of the Warriors who is on tomorrow’s injury report is rookie Gui Santos, who is out with right knee inflammation. According to Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area (Twitter link), the Brazilian forward had an MRI, which showed no structural damage. Santos thinks he could return at some point next week, Poole adds.
  • Nets guard Ben Simmons injured his leg in Saturday’s loss to Minnesota, which saw him exit the game in the third quarter. However, the issue seems to be a minor one, as he’s questionable for Monday’s contest vs. Memphis with left leg soreness, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Simmons has only played 14 games in 2023/24, mostly due to a nerve impingement in his lower back. It’s worth noting that he missed one game last month with a left knee injury, though it’s unclear if the two issues are related.
  • Another oft-injured player, Magic big man Jonathan Isaac, underwent an MRI on his left knee/leg, but it revealed “no significant injuries,” the team announced (via Twitter). The defensive stalwart is questionable for Tuesday’s contest vs. Brooklyn with a left knee strain. Isaac was limited to two minutes of action in Sunday’s loss to Atlanta due to the injury.
  • Pistons guard Marcus Sasser will be reevaluated in one week after sustaining a knee contusion, tweets Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. The former Houston Cougar has had an impressive rookie season for Detroit, averaging 7.7 PPG and 3.0 APG on .468/.424/.850 shooting in 50 games off the bench (16.3 MPG). Sasser was the 25th overall pick of last year’s draft.

Ben Simmons Leaves Game With Injury; Cameron Johnson Now In Bench Role

  • Nets guard Ben Simmons was forced out of Saturday night’s game after hurting his left leg in the third quarter, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Interim coach Kevin Ollie originally told reporters that Simmons injured his knee and would have imaging done, but a team spokesman later clarified that the injury is elsewhere on the leg and that no tests are planned. Injuries have limited Simmons to 14 games this season and 56 total since Brooklyn acquired him in 2022.
  • Cameron Johnson came off the bench for the second straight game since Ollie took over as the Nets‘ interim coach, Lewis adds. Ollie indicated that Johnson, who signed a four-year, $95MM extension last summer, will be given a chance to win his starting job back. “Roles are going to change; nothing is permanent,” Ollie said. “But I want him to embrace this team role that he has and come out there and play his best minutes. And I think we’re going to see that from CJ and understanding that we have to do things as a team and focus on that.”

New York Notes: Bridges, Ollie, Hart, Randle, Anunoby

The Nets resisted opportunities to trade Mikal Bridges at the deadline and they still view him as a cornerstone of the franchise, sources tell Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Bridges is seen as a potential All-Star with a team-friendly contract that will pay him $23.3M next season and $24.9MM in 2025/26.

Bridges is also considered a strong recruiter who can help bring more talent to Brooklyn, Bontemps adds. Besides Bridges, only Cameron Johnson and Dorian Finney-Smith are signed beyond next season, giving the Nets potentially more than $70MM to chase a 2025 free agent class that could include Donovan MitchellBrandon IngramRudy GobertLauri Markkanen and Jimmy Butler.

The Nets have slumped badly after a 15-15 start and have the second-worst record in the league since December 27. Still, Bridges told Bontemps that he believes in the organization “100%” and has no desire to go anywhere else.

“Things ain’t going good right now, and that’s life,” he said. “… I know a lot of people might think about different situations and teams, and obviously I got my boys (from Villanova) over there in New York and stuff, so obviously everybody goes with that. But I was never the type of guy to (want to leave when) things get tough and it’s time to cry out and get out.”

There’s more from New York City:

  • Brian Lewis of The New York Post traces Kevin Ollie‘s journey to his first NBA head coaching job. Ollie, who was named the Nets‘ interim coach when Jacque Vaughn was dismissed on Monday, had the makings of a coach back in college, according to former Connecticut mentor Jim Calhoun. “It’ll be no question that if you don’t put good effort in — I have no idea what his verbal responses will be — I do know that you’ll probably be sitting beside him,” Calhoun said. “There’s going to be purpose and work, because that’s how he played and that’s how he coached for us at UConn.”
  • Josh Hart may complain about what he’s asked to do, but he has been one of the Knicks‘ most reliable players, observes Stefan Bondy of The New York Post. Hart has said publicly that he would prefer a larger role in the offense, but he keeps providing the intangibles the team needs, including a strong defensive presence and constant effort, while missing just one game all season. “I think he just talks the talk, if that makes sense,” Jalen Brunson said. “He’s like a — I’m going to be nice — he says whatever he wants to say, but when he goes out there, when it’s time to compete, it doesn’t matter who or what is in front of him.”  
  • Knicks forward Julius Randle is still determined to return from his dislocated right shoulder before the end of the season, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said Saturday on NBA Countdown (video link). However, Wojnarowski cautioned that Randle’s situation remains “fluid” as no decision has been made regarding surgery. Woj adds that OG Anunoby is “right on schedule” following a recent procedure on his right elbow and will be reevaluated at the end of next week.

Nets Notes: Struggles, Johnson, Bridges, Koch Family

In their first game under interim head coach Kevin Ollie on Thursday in Toronto, the Nets had yet another listless performance, losing by 28 points to the Raptors, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Ollie replaced Jacque Vaughn, who was fired in part due to the team’s lack of energy and effort, with Brooklyn just 8-24 over its past 32 games.

Ollie made playing with energy and hustle a priority in his first practice on Tuesday, but the Nets repeatedly failed to get back in transition in the blowout loss, Lewis notes, losing the fast-break points battle 46-10.

We didn’t make shots, but their effort, their energy, loose balls, offensive rebounds, beat us in probably every area,” said Ollie. “And giving up 46 fast-break points and not being able to stop them and limit them in half-court situations was a killer for us.”

Here are a few more notes out of Brooklyn:

  • Ollie made a change to the starting lineup on Thursday, moving fifth-year forward Cameron Johnson to the bench, Lewis writes in another story. The starting five consisted of Ben Simmons, Cam Thomas, Mikal Bridges, Dorian Finney-Smith and Nic Claxton. It was only the second time Johnson has come off the bench this season, with the first coming just before the All-Star break in his first game back from an adductor injury. The 27-year-old, who re-signed with the Nets on a lucrative long-term contract last summer, finished with six points on 1-of-7 shooting in 21 minutes.
  • Appearing on the podcast (Roommates Show) of his former Villanova teammates Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart, who now play for the Knicks, Nets wing Mikal Bridges compared the two teams’ situations unprompted, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Post (subscriber link), who wonders if Bridges would ever consider asking out of Brooklyn. “I know people might want to think about different situations and teams,” Bridges said. “Obviously, I’ve got my boys over there in New York, so everybody goes with that. ….” Bridges went on to say he wanted to keep playing for the Nets, despite their struggles. Bondy acknowledges that “it’s entirely plausible — and understandable — if the Nets simply refuse to trade their best player across the river,” but argues that if it was a possibility for New York, it’d be an idea worth pursuing.
  • Billionaire Julia Koch is negotiating to buy a minority stake in the Nets, per Lewis and Josh Kosman of The New York Post. Koch’s son David Koch Jr. would also be involved. The stake could be as high as 15%, from majority owners Joe Tsai and Clara Wu Tsai. According to The Post, Julia has an estimated net worth of $60-65 billion, which would make her the second-wealthiest woman in the world and only trailing Clippers owner Steve Ballmer in the NBA.