LaMarcus Aldridge

Atlantic Notes: Celtics, Aldridge, Achiuwa, Nets

Following Danilo Gallinari‘s ACL tear and Robert Williams‘ knee surgery, it remains to be seen whether the Celtics will look to fortify their frontcourt with a free agent addition. If they do, it’s possible veteran big man LaMarcus Aldridge will be one of their targets.

During a TV appearance on Tuesday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (video link) said the Celtics showed “a little interest” in Aldridge earlier in the offseason. Dwight Howard, Hassan Whiteside, Blake Griffin, and DeMarcus Cousins are among the other centers and power forwards who remain unsigned with training camps just days away.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston considers whether the Celtics need to add any more veteran depth to their frontcourt. He also weighs the idea of Grant Williams moving into Boston’s starting lineup and wonders if Robert Williams‘ health will be a long-term concern.
  • Raptors big man Precious Achiuwa believes he has done a lot of growing up since being sent from Miami to Toronto in the Kyle Lowry sign-and-trade in 2021, per Colin Udoh of ESPN. Following an offseason trip to his home country of Nigeria and a summer of working out with his trainers, Achiuwa says he’s “really focused” and has a new mindset entering the 2022/23 season. “I mean, something happened to him where he now understands what playing in the NBA is about, and he is on a mission,” head coach Nick Nurse said of Achiuwa.
  • 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.

Atlantic Notes: Aldridge, Holden, Burrell, Simmons, Tucker

Free agent big man LaMarcus Aldridge appears more likely to retire than to sign another contract, Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix and Howard Beck said in the latest episode of The Crossover NBA Show (hat tip to NetsDaily).

Aldridge was productive in 47 games with the Nets last season, averaging 12.9 PPG and 5.5 RPG in 22.3 MPG. Aldridge went in retirement the previous season due to a heart condition but was cleared to play again by the league last fall.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Long Island Nets, Brooklyn’s G League affiliate, have named J.R. Holden as GM and Ronnie Burrell as head coach, according to a team press release. Holden spent the past three seasons as director of pro personnel for the Brooklyn Nets. Burrell rejoins the Nets organization after spending the 2019/20 season as an assistant coach with Long Island. Burrell was as an assistant coach with the College Park Skyhawks, the Atlanta Hawks’ affiliate, last season.
  • Ben Simmons could turn into the Nets’ version of Draymond Green, Ajayi Browne of NetsDaily.com notes. Putting Simmons at the center position could provide the most spacing possible for the Nets offensively due to his play-making skills. He’s also a defensive ace, finishing second in Defensive Player of the Year votes during the 2020/21 season.
  • After losing the conference semifinals to the Heat last season, Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey felt P.J. Tucker would be a great fit if he could sign the veteran forward in free agency, Morey said in a podcast with Philadelphia TV sportscaster John Clark (hat tip to the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson). “Just finished playing a series [against] P.J. Tucker. P.J. was able to really impact that series in a lot of ways with his toughness, with his high-level defense, with his energy on the floor, with his offensive rebounding,” Morey said. “And (Joel Embiid) correctly said, ‘Hey, we could use a guy like that.’”

Knicks Notes: Griffin, Aldridge, Carmelo, Howard, More

The Knicks still have two projected openings on their 15-man regular season roster, and several former All-Stars who have experience playing in New York are still available on the free agent market. Former Nets big men Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge and ex-Knicks star Carmelo Anthony are among the notable names who remain unsigned.

However, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post, the Knicks don’t currently view Griffin, Aldridge, or Anthony as a great fit for their roster. If the team makes a trade or two, it’s possible that stance could change, but for now it seems unlikely that any of those veterans will sign with New York, Berman writes.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • In a separate subscriber-only story in The New York Post, Berman cites a source who says free agent center Dwight Howard would love to play for the Knicks. New York’s depth chart at center already features Mitchell Robinson, Isaiah Hartenstein, and Jericho Sims, so it’s unclear if the team would reciprocate that interest.
  • The Knicks’ Donovan Mitchell trade talks with Utah shone a light on a front office hierarchy that many league sources have described as confusing, according to Berman. President of basketball operations Leon Rose, advisor Gersson Rosas, head coach Tom Thibodeau, senior executive William Wesley, general manager Scott Perry, and strategist Brock Aller all have a say in basketball decisions, making it challenging for the front office to come to a consensus, Berman explains.
  • Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News and Michael Scotto of HoopsHype explored several Knicks-related topics in the latest episode of the HoopsHype podcast, including the Mitchell trade negotiations — Bondy claims the Knicks and Jazz were “at the two-yard line” before those discussions fell apart. Bondy and Scotto also discussed Cam Reddish‘s status, Thibodeau’s future, and which star the Knicks might target next, among other issues.

Celtics Notes: Anthony, Free Agents, Vonleh, Madar

The Celtics aren’t expected to sign free agent Carmelo Anthony as a replacement for the injured Danilo Gallinari, Brian Robb of MassLive writes in a mailbag column. The possibility of Anthony heading to Boston has been rumored over the past week, but multiple league sources tell Robb that Anthony isn’t considered a priority for the team.

The Celtics’ roster isn’t fully set heading into training camp, and a free agent or two could eventually be added. However, Robb hears that Boston wants to give players who are already under contract the first chance to replace Gallinari, including Sam Hauser and some big men who are hoping to make the team.

He suggests that Anthony may become an option later in the season if he’s still available and the Celtics need to add scoring off their bench. Robb also dismisses the prospect of veterans such as Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge being brought into camp.

Anthony remains unsigned roughly two weeks before camps open, even though he was fairly productive for the Lakers last season. The 38-year-old forward averaged 13.3 points and 4.2 rebounds in 69 games while shooting 44.1% from the field and 37.5% from three-point range.

There’s more from Boston:

  • Noah Vonleh could be one of the options to replace Gallinari, but he’ll have to show that his defense has improved to earn a roster spot, Robb adds in the same piece. Vonleh agreed to a one-year training camp contract in August after playing overseas last season. Robb states that Vonleh is a below-average shot blocker and concerns about his defense are the main reason he played for seven teams in seven years.
  • Draft-and-stash player Yam Madar has been impressive for Israel during the EuroBasket tournament, Robb notes in a separate story. The 21-year-old point guard was a second-round pick in the 2020 draft and played for KK Partizan last season. He passed on Summer League to concentrate on his commitment to the Israeli team. Robb calls Madar’s future with the Celtics “murky” considering they drafted JD Davison this year.
  • As the rebuilding Jazz continue to shake up their roster, a deal with the Celtics could become an option, Robb adds in another piece. He examines the potential fit in Boston for several Utah players.

Celtics Notes: Gallinari, Free Agents, Brogdon, G. Williams

The Celtics are expected to apply for a disabled player exception in the wake of Danilo Gallinari‘s ACL tear, a source tells Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. A report Friday indicates that Gallinari hasn’t given up hope of playing toward the end of the upcoming season, but it appears to be a long shot given his age and the severity of the injury.

If the request is approved, Boston’s DPE would be about $3.2MM, which is half of Gallinari’s salary for 2022/23. The team would be able use that amount to sign a free agent, claim a player off waivers or acquire a player through trade, though Himmelsbach views that last option as unlikely because the Celtics already have two trade exceptions that are worth more.

Boston signed Gallinari in July to provide veteran help off the bench and another three-point shooting threat. His contract includes a $6.8MM player option for next season that he seems almost certain to exercise in light of the injury.

There’s more from Boston:

  • With Gallinari likely unavailable for the entire season, Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe looks at some options that are still available on the free agent market. He points to Carmelo Anthony, who might welcome the chance to end his career on a title contender, along with DeMarcus Cousins, Jeremy Lamb, Dwight Howard and LaMarcus Aldridge. Washburn notes that Kevin Durant‘s trade demand worked to the Celtics’ advantage because it froze the free agent market for several weeks, leaving a wealth of veteran players available in September.
  • Malcolm Brogdon may used as the primary backup wing to Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, Brian Robb of MassLive writes in a mailbag column. Brogdon, who was acquired from the Pacers in July, has the size to handle the role at 6’5″ and is probably the team’s best defensive option at that position. Robb notes that it would also provide more backcourt minutes for Derrick White and Payton Pritchard.
  • Grant Williams will likely ask for a starting salary in the mid-teens in his extension negotiations, Robb adds in the same piece. Robb doesn’t believe president of basketball operations Brad Stevens will meet that price, even though Williams becomes more important with Gallinari sidelined.

Nets Notes: Simmons, KD, Irving, Claxton, Aldridge

Appearing on the Pat McAfee Show (Twitter link), Shams Charania of The Athletic said the Nets will be cautious with Ben Simmons, but there’s still an expectation that he’ll play this season.

Simmons received an epidural to treat the herniated disc in his back on March 15 and has been unable to do any basketball-related activities. However, he was able to travel with the team for the first time in a month during Brooklyn’s road trip this week and his back is starting to feel better, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post.

Yeah he’s feeling a lot less pain,” coach Steve Nash said of Simmons, who still has to be cleared to practice 1-on-1, 3-on-3, and 5-on-5 before he can even be considered for playing. “I don’t have any major updates. His symptoms are improving and I think he’s progressing, but he’s not on the floor yet.”

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • Kevin Durant is relieved to have Kyrie Irving back for home games, ESPN’s Nick Friedell writes. Irving was recently exempted from New York City’s vaccine mandate. “It’s a long time coming,” Durant said. “It’s an exciting time for Brooklyn Nets fans and New York fans to see one of our own back on the floor at home. It means a lot to our team, happy to have him back, and look forward to finishing the season strong. I’m glad this is all behind us.”
  • Coach Steve Nash echoed a similar sentiment, Lewis writes in a separate article for The New York Post. “Yeah it’s great, we’re excited. Can’t wait to have him back for home games and for all our games,” Nash said. “We’ve missed him and it’s nice that we can not only have him back at home but also gain some reps and continuity together. We just are happy it’s over. We don’t have time to worry about anything other than we’ll have Kyrie at home now. … It’s positive in every sense of the word. We get to have him back, we don’t have to think about it, talk about it, worry about it. We’re moving forward, he’s able to play and it helps us in every way.”
  • In a Sports+ article for the Post, Lewis explores how not getting traded helped Nic Claxton regain his form. Through 38 games this season (19 starts, 20.3 MPG), Claxton is averaging 8.5 PPG, 5.4 RPG and 1.1 BPG. The 22-year-old center will be a restricted free agent this summer.
  • Coach Nash said LaMarcus Aldridge should be able to return to action next week, Lewis tweets. The veteran big man has missed Brooklyn’s last eight games with a right hip impingement.

Nets Notes: Simmons, Claxton, Aldridge, Durant

Nets guard Ben Simmons is dealing with a herniated disc in his back but he wants to make his season debut as soon as he can, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reports. Simmons received an epidural injection last week to relieve the soreness. He has dealt with back issues since February 2020, when he missed time due to a nerve impingement, Charania notes.

Simmons is expected to continue to work toward a return and would make his debut whenever he is fully cleared to play. However, it’s not certain that will happen this season.

We have more on the Nets:

  • Nic Claxton has seen his playing time expand since LaMarcus Aldridge was sidelined earlier this month, Peter Botte of the New York Post notes. Aldridge will miss at least another week with the hip injury that has kept him out of action since March 6. Claxton has averaged 10.2 PPG,  7.4 RPG and 1.2 BPG over the last five games heading into Monday’s home game against the Jazz. Claxton will be a restricted free agent this summer if the team extends a qualifying offer.
  • Kevin Durant doesn’t think the window of opportunity will close if the Nets come up short in the playoffs this season, according to Nick Friedell of ESPN. Durant, who signed a four-year, $198MM extension in August, says he expects Brooklyn to be serious contenders for years to come. “If you’re looking at it as if, like, this is our only chance to ever do something special with this group — and other people looking at it that way — then I can see why,” Durant said. “But to be honest, I signed here for five years to play. You know what I’m saying? Looking at, obviously this year’s important, but no matter what happens this year I still want to do it again. And again.”
  • Andre Drummond missed Monday’s game due to a non-COVID illness, Chris Milholen of Nets Daily tweets.

New York Notes: Rose, Reddish, Aldridge, Irving

Knicks guard Derrick Rose (ankle) seems far away from returning, Marc Berman of the New York Post tweets. Rose originally underwent ankle surgery in December and had a second procedure on February 25 to address an infection.

According to Berman, Rose left the team’s road trip for an exam in New York last week. Head coach Tom Thibodeau said his infection is just now clearing up, but no other details were given about a timetable.

Rose, 33, has only played 26 games this season for the Knicks. New York currently sits 12th in the Eastern Conference standings with a 28-39 record, trailing the No. 10 Hawks by 4.5 games. The team has 15 games remaining to push for a play-in tournament appearance.

Here are some other notes from New York:

  • Knicks swingman Cam Reddish won’t require surgery to repair his separated right shoulder, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News tweets. Reddish will miss the rest of the regular season due to the injury. He played in 15 games after being acquired by the team in January.
  • Nets big man LaMarcus Aldridge will miss at least one more week due to a right hip impingement, Brian Lewis of the New York Post tweets. Aldridge has been out for the team’s past two contests. He has started in 12 of his 45 games, averaging 13.5 points and 5.6 rebounds in 22.8 minutes for the season.
  • In a separate article for the New York Post, Lewis examines how an engaged Kyrie Irving on defense could help unlock the Nets‘ potential. Irving has played in just 18 games for Brooklyn this season, who currently ranks eighth in the East at 34-33.

Nets Notes: Simmons, Aldridge, Irving, Marks, Peterson

Now a member of the Nets, Ben Simmons is expected to file a formal grievance against the Sixers at some point in the near future, league sources tell Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.com. The goal will be to recoup some or all of the $20MM+ that Simmons lost in team fines during his season-long holdout in Philadelphia.

As Neubeck explains, the Sixers fined Simmons for each game he missed (costing him about $360K per game) because he didn’t meet with team doctors to discuss the mental health issues he cited as the reason for his absence and because the club never received documentation providing an explanation for his absence or details on his treatment plan. Neubeck’s sources likened the situation to a player suffering a physical injury and only consulting with an outside specialist, without keeping his team in the loop.

Neubeck suggests the reception Simmons gets in Philadelphia on Thursday when he sits on the Nets’ bench may play a part in his grievance — his camp will likely point to the vitriol he receives on Thursday as evidence for why he wasn’t mentally prepared to suit up again for the Sixers, according to Neubeck. Still, based on his conversations with league sources and people familiar with the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, Neubeck says the 76ers appear to be in a “much stronger position” in a potential arbitration case.

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • LaMarcus Aldridge, who had already been ruled out for Tuesday’s game in Charlotte due to a right hip impingement, returned to Brooklyn to undergo an MRI, head coach Steve Nash said today. As Brian Lewis of The New York Post tweets, Nash said the results of that MRI were mostly good, but Aldridge won’t rejoin the team on its current road trip, so he’ll miss Thursday’s game in Philadelphia too.
  • Speaking to reporters following the Nets’ loss to the Celtics on Sunday, point guard Kyrie Irving likened the Boston faithful who booed him every time he touched the ball to a “scorned girlfriend,” as Adam Zagoria of NJ.com writes. Irving also said that he feels like New York City mayor Eric Adams is “on my side,” though the private sector vaccine mandate that prevents Kyrie from playing in New York remains in place for now.
  • In a conversation with Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com, Nets general manager Sean Marks admitted that it was frustrating to never really see the Nets’ Big Three of Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Irving together and healthy for an extended period, but said he’s excited to see what the new-look core looks like when everyone is available.
  • As part of his NBA 40 Under 40 series, Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic profiles Nets assistant GM Jeff Peterson, whom Marks refers to as a “great sounding board.” Peterson has played a key role in the Nets’ college scouting department and had a hand in the selections of Cam Thomas and Kessler Edwards last year, per Vorkunov.

Atlantic Notes: Drummond, Barrett, Raptors, Durant, Aldridge

Nets center Andre Drummond expressed confidence that his new team can win the championship this season, as relayed by Brian Lewis of the New York Post (Twitter link). Drummond was one of three players traded to Brooklyn on Thursday, joining teammates Ben Simmons and Seth Curry.

“We have a great roster,” Drummond said. “I think when everybody’s healthy and and able to play all together, I think we’re very scary down the stretch in the playoffs. I think this team is a championship team. Absolutely.”

Brooklyn added Simmons, Curry and Drummond to a core that already includes Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Joe Harris, Patty Mills, LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin. The team has lost 10 games in a row, however, dealing with injuries and the part-time availability of Irving.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Knicks guard RJ Barrett will miss the club’s game against the Blazers on Saturday, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News tweets. Barrett is dealing with a sprained ankle. This will be the second straight game he’s missed.
  • Blake Murphy of Sportsnet examines the Raptors‘ short-term and long-term outlook after the trade deadline. Toronto traded for veteran forward Thaddeus Young this week, sending away a package headlined by Goran Dragic. The team has won eight straight games and currently holds the No. 6 spot in the Eastern Conference standings.
  • Nets head coach Steve Nash released two positive injury updates on Saturday, Brian Lewis of the New York Post relays (via Twitter). Durant (sprained MCL) has been doing on-court work for roughly one week, while Aldridge’s return from an ankle injury is days away, not weeks.