Lonnie Walker

Eastern Notes: Krejci, Donovan, Brunson, Anunoby, Walker

The Hawks, who will face the Bulls in the play-in tournament on Tuesday, could have promoted two-way player Vit Krejci to a standard contract and made him eligible for the postseason. They chose not to do so, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Lauren Williams reports.

Williams says one of the reasons for the decision is the Hawks are weighing the fact that Krejci will be a restricted free agent in the offseason, which gives them the right of first refusal. They hope to retain him on a four-year deal, beginning next season, Williams adds (Twitter links).

Because this is Krejci’s third NBA season, he would have been eligible for restricted free agency this summer even if Atlanta had converted him to a standard deal, so it’s hard to believe that was the primary motivating factor.

Promoting Krejci would have required Atlanta to cut a player from its standard 15-man roster, and while there was no one obvious candidate to be waived, Krejci has played more minutes as of late than several Hawks reserves.

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  • As for the Bulls, coach Billy Donovan admits the season didn’t play out the way the organization hoped, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago relays. The Bulls finished with an offensive rating of 114, which ranked 20th, Johnson notes, while their top-five defense from last season dropped to No. 22, having allowed 115.7 points per 100 possessions. “Organizationally, is this where we want to be going forward? No, we want to be in a situation where you’re making deep playoff runs. We’re not that right now,” Donovan said. “But I give our guys a lot of credit for fighting and competing and giving ourselves an opportunity to advance.”
  • The combination of Jalen Brunson and OG Anunoby has been dazzling, Zach Braziller of the New York Post notes. The Knicks are 19-2 when both have played. Entering Sunday’s game, an overtime win over the Bulls, the team had a net rating of +24.7 and an offensive rating of 125.8 spanning 599 minutes when the duo shared the court. Brunson poured in 40 points on Sunday while Anunoby added 11. They also combined for 11 assists and 13 rebounds for the Knicks, who enter the postseason as a No. 2 seed.
  • Lonnie Walker is headed to unrestricted free agency again after playing on a one-year deal with the Nets. Walker is just looking to land on a team that will be give him steady playing time, Clutch Points’ Erik Slater tweets. “I’m just looking for a home… Just looking for a team that finds me valuable,” he said. Walker appeared in 57 games off the bench for Brooklyn.

Nets Notes: Schröder, Simmons, Clowney, Walker, Tsai

The Nets will have a decision to make a point guard this offseason, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Ben Simmons and Dennis Schröder, both of whom have been starters this season when healthy, will be entering the final year of their respective contracts. And while Simmons’ $40MM cap hit may ensure he remains in Brooklyn, it has been Schröder who has taken on a leadership role since being acquired at the trade deadline.

“He was a leader right when he got in,” interim head coach Kevin Ollie said. “He brings a championship mentality. … He just has a natural ability to lead, ability to win. You know winners when you see them. They hold everybody accountable, but they make themselves full of accountability, too. That’s what he did first and foremost.”

Schröder has been the healthier of the two players, making more appearances since being dealt to the Nets in February (29) than Simmons made all season (15) before undergoing back surgery last month. That track record of good health, along with his $13MM expiring contract, would make him easier to trade this summer than Simmons, who is still on a max deal. But Schröder has expressed a desire to stick with the Nets, as Lewis relays.

“I always want to be stationed somewhere where people show me appreciation,” he said on Wednesday. “And I felt that from the first day — people reaching out to my family, to my wife, to my mom. That shows, OK, they really [want me]. And the playing style, as well, I like. They trust me, in what I am capable of. … I know the business side of it as well. So, I’m not taking anything emotional or personal. I know how it is. But at the end of the day, of course I want to stay here.”

Here’s more out of Brooklyn:

  • Nets center Noah Clowney continues to make a positive impression in his late-season audition for a larger role next season, per Bridget Reilly of The New York Post. Making his second career start on Wednesday, the rookie big man racked up a career-high seven blocks to go with 10 points and seven rebounds in a win over Toronto. Ollie lauded the Nets’ G League coaching staff in Long Island for preparing Clowney to contribute at the NBA level. “I think they just did a great job coaching him, putting him in situations down there so when we got him he was already set,” Ollie said. “He knew exactly what we wanted to do, how he can perform, and he came in ready.”
  • Even with the Nets battling a series of injuries, Lonnie Walker has been a DNP-CD in two of the team’s past four games, according to Collin Helwig of NetsDaily, who believes Walker’s inconsistent role throughout the season signals that the two sides will go their separate ways when the veteran swingman becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer.
  • NetsDaily passes along some notable quotes from a recent Joe Tsai podcast appearance in which the Nets’ owner discussed how he got involved in the NBA, his impressions of the league’s economics, and why it’s “absolutely fun” to control an NBA franchise.

New York Notes: Thomas, Walker, Hartenstein, Brunson

Nets guard Cam Thomas has transformed his game this season, becoming increasingly potent as a scorer, but also adding play-making to his bag of tricks, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post.

I’d say I’ve grown as a passer because I’m playing more. If anybody doesn’t really play much, then they get in for a few spurts — I mean, let’s be real — nobody’s looking to pass when they first get in, they’re looking to get some buckets,” Thomas said. “I’d probably say really just me playing more and knowing I have more opportunity to find the guys.

Thomas, averaging 21.9 points while shooting 44.5% from the floor and 36.2% from three, has more than doubled his assist average from last season. In his past nine games, he’s averaging 4.3 assists while contributing 26.0 points per game. Because of his play, his teammates have been giving him rave reviews.

It’s been beautiful watching him grow and everybody is reaping the benefits,Nic Claxton said. “He’s got to keep going and we’re gonna follow him.

Thomas is heading into the last year of his rookie deal next season, so the Nets will soon face a significant decision on him. As Lewis writes, Brooklyn will need to determine whether to extend him, let the market determine his value when he hits restricted free agency, or see if they can package him in a trade for a star. For what it’s worth, teammate Dennis Schröder believes Thomas is deserving of a big payday. Thomas is eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason.

That’s a max player right there,” Schröder said, per SNY (Twitter link).

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  • Nets interim head coach Kevin Ollie is also a firm believer in Thomas. According to Lewis, Ollie believes Thomas should be in the conversation for the league’s Most Improved Player award. “He should be in there, definitely, just with his body of work,” Ollie said. “I know he has a lot of guys he’s competing with as well. But with his body of work, his consistency and him being able to score the ball in the capacity that he’s scoring is always great.” Thomas has seen the biggest scoring increase from last season to this one of any player in the league, jumping from 10.6 points to 21.9 points per game.
  • Nets guard Lonnie Walker‘s playing time has dipped while playing under Ollie, from 18.1 minutes per game to 15.2. “All the little things: playing defense rebounding, making the right plays,” Ollie said when asked how Walker could earn more minutes, per Lewis (Twitter link). “That’s just how it is. So have him understand that and when your shot’s not falling, doing the other things to make an impact on the game.” Walker is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
  • Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein blames the Nets for his fall to the middle of the second round in the 2017 draft, which potentially cost him millions, according to The New York Post’s Stefan Bondy. “They red-flagged me for my knee. I never had knee problems in my life,” Hartenstein said on the ‘Roommates Show’ podcast with hosts Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart (Apple Podcasts link). “The only thing I had something with [was] my back. I knew that. So I’m like, maybe it’s my back.” Hartenstein said he heard he was projected between the Nos. 15-35 pick but instead fell to 43. Second-round picks are given smaller salaries and fewer guarantees than first-rounders. The Nets used pick No. 22 on Jarrett Allen in that draft. Hartenstein is set for unrestricted free agency this offseason and looks to be due for a payday after capitalizing on his opportunity with New York.
  • Brunson came just one point shy of tying Carmelo Anthony‘s single-game franchise scoring record when the Knicks fell to the Spurs in overtime on Friday, The Athletic’s Fred Katz writes. Brunson dropped 61 points, a new career high, while connecting on 25 of his 47 shot attempts. He set the franchise record for field goals made and had the most field-goal attempts in a game since Kobe Bryant shot 50 in his final game. However, Victor Wembanyama‘s 40-point, 20-rebound double-double allowed the Spurs to upset the Knicks despite Brunson’s 61.
  • As Bondy writes in a separate story, head coach Tom Thibodeau wasn’t thrilled with how the refs called Brunson, who shot just six free throws. “A foul is a foul. That’s what I do know,” Thibodeau said, noting the 32-12 free throw discrepancy in favor of San Antonio. “And what I’m hearing [from the referees], I don’t really like. I don’t know what else you could do, what else you can say. It’s clear as day. It really is that simple.

Atlantic Notes: Celtics, Jeffries, Diakite, Walker, Dinwiddie

The Celtics’ bench has turned into a strength during their current hot streak, Jay King of The Athletic writes.

Over the last nine games, Payton Pritchard has averaged 13.9 points and 5.8 assists per game while shooting 47.0% from the field. Meanwhile, Sam Hauser has made 21 three-pointers over his past three games entering Monday’s action. Al Horford, Luke Kornet, Xavier Tillman and Oshae Brissett have also delivered impactful performances.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • DaQuan Jeffries’ contract with the Knicks, which he signed on Monday, runs through the end of this season with a team option for 2024/25, Fred Katz of The Athletic tweets. Mamadi Diakite’s contract with the Knicks, also signed on Monday, runs through next season too, but the 2024/25 salary is non-guaranteed rather than a team option, Katz adds (Twitter link).
  • Lonnie Walker‘s minutes have dropped since Kevin Ollie was named the Nets’ interim coach but he’s trying to keep a positive attitude, according to NetsDaily.com. “I don’t think it negatively affects me. You might have your ups and downs, your days where you might not feel as much,” Walker said. “But for the most part, I got a great family around me that really supports me and I understand that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.” Walker will be an unrestricted free agent after the season.
  • Spencer Dinwiddie was given very little leeway by former Nets coach Jacque Vaughn before he was dealt and later joined the Lakers, according to Shams Charania. Speaking on the Run It Back program (video link), Charania said Dinwiddie “was essentially told in Brooklyn: No pick and rolls, no isolations.”

Nets Notes: Bridges, Simmons, Walker, Sharpe, Thomas

With multiple players injured for extended periods this season and the Nets declining offers of multiple first-round picks for him, the pressure has been on Mikal Bridges to be a star for Brooklyn, The New York Post’s Brian Lewis writes. Bridges is slumping as of late, averaging 15.6 points on 37.6% shooting in his past 10 games, and Lewis writes that it’s a result of not just being exhausted, but from getting a lack of offensive help elsewhere.

You know it hurts when you don’t have [Cam Thomas] or [Cameron Johnson] where they’re double-teaming [him], and you expect him to be Superman. But he’s just not Superman,” interim head coach Kevin Ollie said. “All the game plan is to [stop] him, to take him out of the game. And in this opportunity, he can learn through this. Even through struggle, you have an opportunity to find a lesson in it, and I think he’ll find a lesson in it. When he gets in this situation again, he’ll be better equipped.

Bridges is still having a career year, averaging bests in points, rebounds and assists. However, he hasn’t yet regained his post-2023 deadline self, when he averaged 26.1 points per game after being moved to Brooklyn. The recent slump isn’t helping, but the forward, who hasn’t missed a game since entering the NBA, insists it isn’t because he needs a break.

No, it’s just between missing shots and schemes on other teams. It’s just a mix of that,” Bridges said. “It’s not too many times where I come off and it’s easy looks now. And it’s just part of growth, and some are just gonna make me better [and] make the team better when it’s all said and done. But just get through that hump. But no, it’s just between making and missing shots.

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  • Ben Simmons being shut down for the season leaves his future with the organization in question, Lewis writes in a separate story. Simmons has played just 57 of a possible 192 regular season games for the Nets and his $40.3MM salary next season makes it hard to move the former All-Defensive Team member in a trade. Lewis speculates the Nets could consider a buyout. Ollie didn’t say whether Simmons would require another surgery, but Brooklyn has to determine whether he’s a sunk cost, Lewis writes. “I hope his mental is fine,” Bridges said. “I just know getting hurt isn’t fun at all. It gets with you mentally, so hope he’s just all right and just hope [for a] speedy recovery.
  • Simmons’ career with the Nets may have been over before it started, The New York Post’s Dan Martin writes in a member-only article. Simmons was already showing a knack for unavailability before the Nets acquired him for James Harden. However, it’s worth noting Harden could’ve left for nothing in the offseason in 2022 if Brooklyn didn’t make the move, and taking a shot on a former top defender – who was 25 years old at the time – was a reasonable gamble.
  • Lonnie Walker has been a silver lining in an otherwise disappointing season for Brooklyn, Lewis writes (subscriber link). Walker is averaging 11.4 points while making 42.5% of his 5.1 three-point attempts per game after signing with Brooklyn on a one-year, minimum salary deal. He’ll be eligible for unrestricted free agency this offseason.
  • Day’Ron Sharpe (right wrist contusion) and Cam Thomas (right ankle/midfoot sprain) are both available for the Nets in Saturday’s matchup against the Hornets, according to SNY’s Ian Begley (Twitter link). Sharpe missed the past two games with his injury, while Thomas hasn’t played since Feb. 26. Sharpe is averaging 7.3 points and 6.7 rebounds while Thomas is scoring 20.9 points per game for Brooklyn this season.

Fischer’s Latest: Pelicans, Stewart, Hawks, Olynyk, Drummond, Lakers, Nets

The Pelicans are searching for a rim protector, but they’ve had to cross at least two names off their wish list, reports Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. Sources tell Fischer that New Orleans was hoping to acquire Jarrett Allen, but the Cavaliers aren’t willing to include him in trade talks. The team also targeted Wendell Carter, but Fischer’s sources say the Magic refuse to make him available.

Fischer cites Pistons big man Isaiah Stewart as a potential alternative for the Pelicans. Detroit agreed to two deals today and may be willing to consider moving Stewart as the team reshapes its roster. Hawks centers Onyeka Okongwu and Clint Capela could also be possibilities, according to Fischer.

Fischer hears that the Pelicans and Hawks were involved in “tangible trade talks” this week involving both centers, along with guard Dejounte Murray, who’s considered one of the top names on this year’s trade market. However, sources tell Fischer that the teams haven’t been able to make any progress toward a deal.

Fischer offers more inside information on the eve of the deadline:

  • Jazz center Kelly Olynyk could be on the way to Toronto, but there are plenty of teams interested in acquiring him, whether it’s from Utah or the Raptors, according to Fischer’s sources. Fischer names the Sixers, Heat and Warriors as teams that have shown interest in Olynyk, adding that the Celtics were also on that list before today’s trade for Xavier Tillman.
  • The Tillman deal removes one suitor for Bulls center Andre Drummond, Fischer adds. The Sixers remain interested in Drummond as a short-term starter while Joel Embiid is injured, according to Fischer, who also lists the Mavericks and Suns as potential landing spots. Fischer’s sources say the Rockets and Lakers also had interest in the veteran center, but they’re considered less likely alternatives. Chicago is hoping for multiple second-round picks in exchange for Drummond, with Fischer noting that it seems like a reasonable price considering that’s what the Celtics gave Memphis for Tillman. Fischer also cautions that the Bulls are hoping to advance through the play-in tournament, so Drummond isn’t certain to be dealt.
  • The Lakers like several Brooklyn players, including Dorian Finney-Smith, Spencer Dinwiddie and Royce O’Neale, Fischer adds. He also points out that the Nets have Lonnie Walker, who was popular with L.A. fans in last year’s playoffs and has attracted interest from several contenders.

Cavs Rumors: Okoro, Caruso, Fontecchio, Trade Targets

The Cavaliers are making and taking calls leading up to Thursday afternoon’s trade deadline, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (subscriber link), who reports that the team continues to eye players with three-and-D skill sets. However, Cleveland has a limited number of trade assets, including no movable first-round picks, so the club may ultimately stand pat at the deadline and explore the buyout market afterward, Fedor writes.

Any trade of significance – beyond a minor tweak around the edges of the roster – would likely have to include former lottery pick Isaac Okoro, sources tell Cleveland.com. But the Cavs highly value Okoro both on and off the court, viewing him as their best on-ball defender and the player who figures to take on the most challenging perimeter assignments in the postseason.

If the Cavs did move Okoro, they’d presumably be targeting a player who could provide similar resistance on defense and more punch on offense. Fedor suggests the team has had internal discussions about Bulls guard Alex Caruso, an elite defender who has been a better three-point shooter than Okoro (on a higher volume) this season. However, Chicago’s asking price for Caruso is steep, so Cleveland would have to be willing to give up more than just Okoro.

Here’s more on the Cavs:

  • The Cavaliers have had some “cursory” conversations with the Jazz about Simone Fontecchio, Fedor reports, noting that the two teams have worked together on multiple trades in recent years, including the Donovan Mitchell blockbuster. Fontecchio has already reportedly drawn interest from Boston and Phoenix.
  • Cleveland has had interest in Hornets forward P.J. Washington in the past and briefly revisited that possibility this season, but the cost will likely be too high, Fedor writes. According to Fedor, Nets forwards Dorian Finney-Smith and Royce O’Neale are also still on the Cavs’ radar, while Nets guard Lonnie Walker and Grizzlies wing John Konchar are among the other potential targets worth keeping an eye on.
  • Pistons forward Bojan Bogdanovic could be a fit in Cleveland, but his $20MM salary makes him a long shot, since the Cavs don’t appear inclined to part with any of their key rotation players, says Fedor. It’s safe to assume that group includes Caris LeVert ($15.4MM) and Max Strus ($14.5MM).
  • This was J.B. Bickerstaff‘s response when the Cavs’ head coach was recently asked about the trade deadline, per Fedor: “We’re happy where we are. Our front office has to do their due diligence and do their job and you never know what you can turn over, but we haven’t had a ton of conversations about particulars because we are happy with where we are. We’re pleased with the group of guys we have and the way we have been playing. I don’t want to lose anybody, and we are not desperate for anybody to come in.”

Fischer’s Latest: Wiggins, Paul, Portis, Looney, Kuzma, Stewart, Beauchamp, Hield, Bogdanovic

The Mavericks and Bucks are mulling whether to make a serious run at the Warriors’ Andrew Wiggins, Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer reports.

Wiggins’ name has been prominently mentioned in trade rumors, due to his subpar production, the Warriors’ disappointing record and a contract that runs through the 2026/27 season.

Dallas is willing to part with either Grant Williams or Tim Hardaway Jr. for salary-matching purposes to acquire a frontcourt player who can shoot and also make a difference defensively. The Mavs are also willing to include their 2027 first-round pick for the right player, Fischer adds.

As for the Bucks, they’d have to include Bobby Portis to cobble salaries to match Wiggins’ $24.3MM. It’s a tough call for the Bucks, considering Portis’ steady contributions in recent years. Fischer notes that Portis was one of Golden State coach Steve Kerr’s favorites during the FIBA World Cup run with Team USA.

Here are several more interesting tidbits from Fischer:

  • Chris Paul, whose $30MM contract for next season is non-guaranteed, is unlikely to be dealt by the Warriors. Jonathan Kuminga is off limits. However, Kevon Looney and his $7.5MM contract could be swapped out, depending what need Golden State ultimately wants to target. Looney’s contract for next season is only guaranteed for $3MM.
  • The Wizards are unwilling to deal Kyle Kuzma unless they get multiple first-rounders for him. The Mavericks and Kings have known interest but would likely need to find a third team to facilitate such a deal. Washington has made it known it’s looking for draft capital in any trade.
  • Along with previously reported interest in the Hornets’ P.J. Washington, the Mavericks have their eyes on Pistons forward Isaiah Stewart. The latter signed a four-year, $64MM extension last offseason. Dallas also showed interest in Magic big man Wendell Carter but Orlando doesn’t seem inclined to move its starting center.
  • The Bucks are willing to include MarJon Beauchamp and the 2024 second-round pick that the Trail Blazers owe them in trade discussions.  The Bucks and Sixers have also contacted teams that hold plenty of draft capital, such as the Thunder and Pelicans, regarding potential future first-round pick swaps or packages of second-round picks in exchange for extra first-round selections.
  • Speaking of the Sixers, they’re interested in Pacers sharpshooter Buddy Hield. Hield would upgrade their offense and his $18.5MM expiring contract wouldn’t impact their desire to have more cap space than any other team this summer. Picking up more first-round capital, as mentioned above, would facilitate their ability to acquire a wing like Hield or the Pistons’ Bojan Bogdanovic.
  • The Celtics are willing to use their $6.2MM trade exception for bench help. Otto Porter Jr. and Lonnie Walker are among the names Fischer has heard as potential Boston acquisitions.

Nets Notes: Simmons, Walker, Finney-Smith, Sharpe

Ben Simmons‘ return to action could not have gone much better. He nearly posted a triple-double despite playing just 18 minutes in the Nets‘ rout of Utah on Monday.

Simmons had 10 points, a game-high 11 assists and eight rebounds after missing 38 straight games with a nerve impingement in his back.

“Once he said he was ready to go, I had no qualms that he was going to be able to push the pace for us and get back to the high-energy, high-octane pace that he’s played with this group,” Nets coach Jacque Vaughn told the New York Post’s Brian Lewis and other media members. “You see how he just impacts other people. He makes other dudes better, and he likes doing that.”

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  • Lonnie Walker is on his third team in the past three seasons. He’s on a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal and is hoping for more security in his next contract, as Michael Scotto of HoopsHype shares in a video tweet. “I’m on a minimum, so I carry that weight on my shoulders as far as finding a home, playing the right way, and continuing to get better,” Walker said. “Right now, I’m locked in trying to find that forever home.” The Nets swingman is averaging 11.8 points in 28 appearances this season.
  • Forward Dorian Finney-Smith missed Monday’s game with a sprained left ankle and also won’t play Wednesday against the Suns, Lewis tweets. Finney-Smith has been the subject of numerous trade rumors in recent weeks.
  • Simmons is listed as probable for Wednesday’s game due to a left knee contusion, Lewis add in another tweet. Backup center Day’Ron Sharpe remains sidelined due to a hyperextended left knee.

Nets Notes: Bridges, Walker, Simmons, Sharpe

Sixth-year wing Mikal Bridges put up impressive statistics when he was traded to Brooklyn last February, averaging 26.1 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 2.7 APG and 1.0 SPG on .475/.376/.894 shooting in 27 games to close the 2022/23 season.

While his numbers are solid again for the Nets in ’23/24 — he’s averaging 21.7 PPG, 5.2 RPG and 3.8 APG on .455/.363/.839 shooting in 43 games — Bridges doesn’t expect to make the All-Star Game, he tells Mark Medina of Sportskeeda.

I don’t think so. Maybe next year,” Bridges said. “You have to win and play to the level.”

As Medina notes, the Nets are currently 17-26, having lost 16 of their past 20 games. Multiple reports have indicated that Brooklyn has no plans to trade Bridges ahead of the February 8 deadline, but he knows things can change quickly in the NBA.

Just prepare, watch and wait,” Bridges said of the next couple weeks.

Here’s more from Brooklyn:

  • After giving up a 22-0 run to lose to the Clippers in L.A. on Sunday, the Nets blew another fourth quarter lead in Tuesday’s home contest vs. New York, with the crowd chanting “Let’s go Knicks” late in the final period, writes Bridget Reilly of The New York Post. Bridges wasn’t pleased that the atmosphere felt like “an away game at home.” “You could hear in the crowd, felt like a friggin’ away game when they made their run,” Bridges said. “Yes, we got good looks. They got some key buckets. We just got to overcome it, you can’t fold and put our heads down if they make a little run. It’s part of the game, just got to be able to execute after and go out and win.”
  • Lonnie Walker was a rotation regular to open the season, but his hot shooting start was interrupted by a hamstring injury, which caused him to miss 17 consecutive games. Since returning from the injury, Walker’s minutes have been more sporadic — he has averaged just 12.5 MPG after playing 21.3 MPG prior to the injury. Head coach Jacque Vaughn wants Walker to make better decisions on defense and contribute more on the boards in order to receive more playing time, relays Lucas Kaplan of NetsDaily.com.
  • The Nets recently provided injury updates on Ben Simmons and Day’Ron Sharpe, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post. According to Vaughn, Simmons will be out at least this week, but he could practice with the team’s G League affiliate in Long Island soon. Simmons has been out since November 6 with a back injury. As for backup center Sharpe, who has missed the past six games with a hyperextended left knee, he says he still isn’t doing contact work. “I think I’ve got a lot more steps I’ve got to take. Right now, I’m just still on the process of strengthening my leg back,” said Sharpe, who didn’t offer a return timeline. “I don’t know yet. But I just feel good. Better. I feel like I’m going in a positive direction.”