LaMarcus Aldridge

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.

Atlantic Notes: White, Theis, Durant, Claxton, Knicks

The Celtics’ flurry of action prior to the trade deadline has left them with a handful of open roster spots. They’ll fill them by signing free agents to 10-day deals in the short term, then explore the buyout market as players become available, Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe reports.

The trades that they made were done to improve the second unit, Himmelsbach adds. They view Derrick White as an upgrade in a sixth-man role, while Daniel Theis has already shown during his previous stint with the Celtics that he can mesh with this group. That deal with Houston for Theis came together at the last minute, Himmelsbach tweets.

The trades will also open up playing time for Payton Pritchard and Aaron Nesmith.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • How does Kevin Durant feel about the James Harden trade? In a TNT interview (hat tip to the Washington Post’s Ben Golliver), the Nets superstar said, “I’m excited for our team and looking forward to finishing the season out with this new group … The playoffs are right around the corner and we’ve got to fast track and get used to each other. I think everybody got what they wanted.”
  • The Nets explored trades involving Nic Claxton, Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News tweets. Andre Drummond was added in the Harden deal and LaMarcus Aldridge is expected to return in the near future from an ankle sprain. Those developments will presumably eat into Claxton’s playing time.
  • The Knicks, who didn’t pull off a trade on Thursday, still want to compete for a play-in spot, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. They still believe they made an upgrade in adding Cam Reddish last month, even though coach Tom Thibodeau has played the young wing sparingly, and they’re expected to get Derrick Rose back in action from ankle surgery later this month.

New York Notes: Aldridge, Nets, Toppin, Grimes

Nets head coach Steve Nash told reporters that center LaMarcus Aldridge will miss the rest of Brooklyn’s current road trip due to a left ankle sprain, per Nick Friedell of ESPN (via Twitter). Friedell adds that Nash expressed optimism about the veteran big man’s ability to rejoin the Nets prior to the upcoming All-Star break.

Aldridge suffered the injury in a 110-106 weekend loss to the Warriors. He departed Golden State’s home arena, the Chase Center, in a walking boot and on crutches. Nash is glad that Aldridge’s injury is not more severe, per Brian Lewis of the New York Post.

“There’s always a dark side, a bad side of all these injuries or incidents in a game, so you can always look at the positive side,” Nash said. “And fortunately I don’t think it’s a long-term thing; it’s more of a short-term thing.”

Lewis notes that Nash would not reveal the extent of the sprain.

The 6’11” veteran, a seven-time All-Star, has proven to be a helpful role player when available for the 29-20 Nets, averaging 13.4 PPG, 5.6 RPG and 1.1 BPG in 36 games (22.9 MPG).

There’s more out of the City That Never Sleeps:

  • Some changes have been announced near the top of the Nets ownership hierarchy. John Abbamondi, CEO of Nets parent company BSE Global, will be stepping down in July, per Jabari Young of CNBC (Twitter link). Abbamondi was just hired in July 2020. Vice President of Global Partnership Sales Chris Insolera also revealed that he would be leaving BSE today, per Mark J. Burns of the Sports Business Journal (via Twitter).
  • Second-year Knicks power forward Obi Toppin will participate in his second straight Slam Dunk Contest during the 2022 All-Star Weekend, per Shams Charania of The Athletic (video link). Toppin has seen an uptick in his minutes during his second NBA season with New York, ascending from 11.0 MPG to 15.8 MPG. Through 46 games this season, he is averaging 7.8 PPG, 3.6 RPG, and 1.0 APG on a .541/.250/.772 shooting line.
  • Knicks rookie guard Quentin Grimes has seen his intense commitment to practice pay off with a bigger role on the team, writes Steve Popper of Newsday. Grimes has had positive practice habits instilled in him from a young age. “My dad, he grew up playing basketball,” Grimes said. “Played at Santa Clara and was around Kurt Rambis and a lot of NBA guys growing up in the Houston area. He always told me that no matter if you’re not playing, playing a lot, playing 40 minutes, you got to treat every practice like it’s a game because you’re ultimately preparing yourself for the game.” Grimes had a bumpy start to his first NBA season. He played in just 13 of the team’s first 26 games this year, averaging just six minutes per contest. After coronavirus absences gave Grimes an opportunity to play more minutes, he showed more promising flashes. “He treats practice like a game,” head coach Tom Thibodeau raved. “He’s there early. He practices extremely hard. He guards everyone. He’s not going to take any possessions off.” In 33 games (15.9 MPG), Grimes is averaging 5.9 PPG on .420/.403/.727 shooting, along with 1.7 RPG and 1.0 APG.

Nets Notes: Aldridge, Harden, Durant, Harris, Crawford

The Nets are awaiting the results of an MRI on LaMarcus Aldridge‘s left ankle, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post. Aldridge sprained the ankle during the fourth quarter of Saturday’s loss at Golden State. He left the arena in a walking boot and had the MRI in Arizona. Aldridge is averaging 13.4 PPG and 5.6 RPG in 22.9 MPG.

We have more news on the Nets:

  • James Harden is questionable to play against Phoenix on Tuesday due to a strained right hand, ESPN’s Nick Friedell writes. Harden, who was able to practice Monday, was a late scratch on Saturday after waking up with discomfort in the hand and had an MRI in San Francisco.
  • There’s still no timetable for the returns of Kevin Durant or Joe Harris, Friedell tweets. Durant (knee) hasn’t played since January 15 while Harris (ankle) has been sidelined since November 14.
  • Brooklyn’s G League affiliate, the Long Island Nets, has requested waivers on Jordan Crawford, Marc Spears of The Undefeated tweets. His contract only ran through January. It’s possible he could return to the Long Island club but he could also be claimed by another G League team or even go overseas. Crawford hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since the 2017/18 season.

Nets Notes: Harden, Irving, Aldridge, Edwards

The Nets are hoping that the right hand strain that made James Harden a late scratch for Saturday’s game won’t be a long-term issue, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Harden wasn’t on the team’s injury list, but he underwent an MRI exam that showed the strain.

“James’ hand has been bothering him for a few days at least,” coach Steve Nash said. “He thought it was nothing and then it really flared up this morning when he woke up. Obviously irritated but what he was feeling (Friday) and (Saturday) morning he woke up with some irritation so he had a scan. (It was) clean of the bad stuff, but a strain for sure. There’s stuff on the MRI, so he’s feeling something and feeling the strain, and like I said it’s been bothering (him). But he was like, ‘It’s nothing.’ And now it’s a little more than nothing. He woke up with a marked difference in the hand.”

Nash added that Harden has fully recovered from a strained hamstring that forced him to miss Wednesday’s game. He said Harden has been dealing with pain in the hand for several days and may have aggravated it at Friday’s practice. Brooklyn’s next game is Tuesday at Phoenix, and Harden’s status is uncertain.

There’s more on the Nets:

  • Kyrie Irving had one of his best games of the season Saturday night at Golden State, but his vaccination status continues to be a source of controversy, Lewis adds. San Francisco board supervisor Matt Haney told reporters that Irving shouldn’t have been permitted to play at Chase Center without the vaccine. “Some people are gonna agree and some people are gonna disagree,” Irving said. “He’s entitled to his opinion and I respect it.”
  • LaMarcus Aldridge left the arena on crutches after rolling his ankle late in the game, tweets Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. “It’s just an ankle sprain,” Aldridge said. “I will be all right. I just can’t walk on it right now.”
  • Rookie Kessler Edwards, who was a long shot to make the Nets’ roster after being drafted in the second round, has been pushed into the starting lineup because of injuries, Lewis adds in a separate story. There were questions about his shot coming out of college, but he has been working with player development coach Kyle Korver and is connecting at 39.3% from beyond the arc. “I thought I’d be good with the shot I had,” Edwards said. “But once they changed (it), once I started hearing different things, I saw that it was working, so I just stuck with it.”

Atlantic Notes: Harden, Sharpe, Rivers, Celtics

James Harden believes the lingering effects of last year’s hamstring injury are gone and he’s ready to play at an MVP level again, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Harden was dominant Friday in the Nets‘ win over the Spurs, putting up 37 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds along with a highlight dunk that should calm any fears about his explosiveness.

Brooklyn will need those type of performances to remain in contention for the top spot in the East with Kevin Durant likely sidelined until after the All-Star break with a sprained left knee and Kyrie Irving limited to road games because of New York City’s vaccine requirement. Harden feels ready to lead the team while it’s short-handed.

“Yeah, I’m definitely back,” he said. “It’s just throughout the course of the year we had so much going on (with) our team. A lot of injuries and whatnot, and obviously the situation with Kyrie, so it’s really difficult to get a rhythm like we all want to. But we just got to continue to fight, continue to take one game at a time and push through it. Eventually this thing is going to come together where we’re all together and we all make a really, really huge run at this thing.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets have found their most effective center combination with rookie Day’Ron Sharpe starting and LaMarcus Aldridge as his primary backup, Lewis notes in a separate story. “I thought (Sharpe) did some great things,” coach Steve Nash said Friday, “got 10 rebounds and was a good screener-and-roller. Looked a little bit tired at times and then (Aldridge) was super-solid making shots and a big night for him coming back.”
  • Sixers coach Doc Rivers snapped at a reporter who questioned his coaching tactics after the team let a 24-point lead get away in Friday’s loss to the Clippers, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. When asked how much his coaching decisions contributed to the defeat, Rivers responded, “Would you ask (Spurs coach Gregg Popovich) that question? No you wouldn’t. So don’t ask me that question. I’ve earned that.”
  • The Celtics need to abandon their lineup that has Robert Williams and Al Horford playing together, argues Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston. Boston had a minus-31 rating in the 15 minutes that Williams and Horford shared the court in Friday’s loss to Portland.