Posts Tagged ‘Brooklyn Nets’

The final days of a disappointing Brooklyn Nets season ended not with Ben Simmons on the floor with his teammates, but on the floor of his home, the pain from a back injury shooting through his lower body.

The Nets would go on to get swept by the Boston Celtics, with Simmons having back surgery shortly thereafter. While Simmons was rehabbing in the summer, Kevin Durant requested a trade — unless coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks were fired.

Nash wasn’t sacked, nor was he even shaken.

“Knowing Kevin as long as I have, it didn’t really bother me the way maybe everyone would think,” Nash said. “That’s a part of being a competitor, that I wasn’t like overly surprised and I wasn’t even overly concerned. It was just something that I thought we would address in time and we did, and here we are and we’re looking forward.”

The Nets opened training camp Tuesday with Simmons finally on the floor with his teammates, wearing a new number. But the book wasn’t closed on 2021-22 just yet, not with Nash first having to revisit the tumultuous summer.

He and Durant have had a lengthy relationship: Nash was a consultant with Golden State during Durant’s stint with the team. When the Hall of Fame point guard was hired as Nets coach in 2020, despite no experience, it was assumed that the superstar player had weighed in.

So it was shocking when reports surfaced that Durant wanted him out, except to Nash.

“You know, I never thought that was 100%. There’s a lot of things that it’s not black and white like that,” Nash said. “So there’s a lot of factors, a lot of things behind the scenes, a lot of things that are reported are not accurate. A lot of things that are reported are not 100% accurate, so you get fragmented bits of truth, things that are flat-out not true.”

Nash said he knew he would talk to Durant at some point, and they did meet in August, along with Marks and owners Joe and Clara Wu Tsai, where they decided to continue together. Nash wouldn’t specify what was said to get Durant back on board.

“But it was an opportunity for us to clear the air and just communicate and it was pretty straightforward,” Nash said. “Didn’t take a lot of time and got to bottom of it and decided to move forward.”

Durant pointed to how poorly the Nets played while he was sidelined by a knee injury in January and February as one of the reasons for his frustration, saying the team wasn’t respected by its opponents. That was confirmed Tuesday by newcomer Markieff Morris, who played with Miami last season.

“I agree with what he said. They were soft,” Morris said. “Point blank. When we played against them, they were soft. Just go right in their chest. That’s what we did.”

Having Simmons should help. He was an All-Defensive first-team pick in his final two seasons in Philadelphia, with the size and strength to guard all five positions.

“He’s strong as hell,” Morris said.

Simmons sat out training camp last year after deciding he would no longer play in Philadelphia for mental health reasons. The 76ers eventually sent him to Brooklyn in February in a deal headlined by James Harden, but the 2016 No. 1 draft pick’s back problems flared up soon after he arrived.

It turned out Simmons had a herniated disk and had a procedure to remove a portion of it in the offseason.

“I don’t think people really realized where I was at,” Simmons said. “That day I was supposed to play Game 4, I woke up on the floor. Couldn’t move, could barely walk.”

He does exercises to manage the back pain and also said he takes daily steps to improve his mental health.

“That’s just working on yourself and I feel like everybody has dark days, but when you’re able to address it and you’re able to work toward a place to where you need to be, that’s where I am,” Simmons said.

Most importantly for the Nets, he’s finally out there alongside Durant. Nobody could be certain that would happen in the summer, though Nash never believed Durant had closed the door.

“It was never really as big a deal to me,” Nash said. “I always thought we’ve have our moment, discuss it and choose a course, and we’re fortunate to all be in the gym working again.”

Ben Simmons‘ tenure with the Philadelphia 76ers didn’t end on the best of terms, but the Brooklyn Nets guard still has a lot of love for the city where he began his NBA career.

“Philly is obviously a sports city. And my experience playing there was incredible,” Simmons said during a recent appearance on “The Old Man and The Three” podcast with former teammate JJ Reddick. “Like, for the most part, it was incredible. I had a great time. The fans are unbelievable. I still have an apartment there … I feel like I’m a part of Philly still.”

Simmons added: “It’s just unique. Even being in Brooklyn now, it’s completely different. This is a different experience for me. And, you know, I value that time I did spend in Philly because I was able to learn and grow in that city, and I got friends for life there. My brother lives there. I got family there. So yeah, Philly’s great. I think people have like a thought that I think that I hate it.”

Simmons averaged 15.9 points, 8.1 boards, 7.7 assists, and 1.7 steals over 275 appearances with the 76ers. The former No. 1 overall pick earned three All-Star nods, two NBA All-Defensive first-team selections, and Rookie of the Year honors during his tenure in the City of Brotherly Love.

Despite a collection of accolades and a versatile skill set, Simmons’ inability to space the floor wasn’t an ideal fit alongside co-star Joel Embiid. He notably struggled in the team’s second-round playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks in 2021, passing up an open dunk late in the 76ers’ season-ending Game 7 loss.

Simmons requested a trade prior to the 2021-22 campaign and refused to suit up for Philadelphia, citing mental health as his reason for holding out.

Brooklyn acquired Simmons at the trade deadline in a blockbuster deal involving James Harden. However, Simmons didn’t play a game for his new club due to a lingering back injury. He underwent surgery for the ailment in May and is expected to be ready for training camp.

Kyrie Irving believes the Brooklyn Nets will be better in the long run after the Boston Celtics swept them in the opening round of last season’s playoffs.

“It was meant to happen like that. Motivation bro,” Irving told Twitch streamer KaiCenat on Sunday. “We needed that humbling experience, especially going against the Celtics. It was already built to be that matchup. We’re gonna see them again, we’re gonna have to.

“They’re gonna be where they’re gonna be. But those youngins over there in Boston, bro, I got to see them grow up. So to see them do what they did last year on the Finals stage, making it that far, I’m glad they had to go through us.”

Brooklyn had to earn its postseason berth through the play-in tournament after finishing seventh in the Eastern Conference. The Nets played a competitive series against the Celtics, dropping all four contests by single digits, including a buzzer-beater in Game 1.

Irving averaged 21.3 points, 5.3 boards, 5.3 assists, and 1.8 steals against the eventual East champions. Co-star Kevin Durant registered 26.3 points per contest but was held to just 38.6% shooting from the field.

Brooklyn has won just one playoff series since the duo joined forces in 2019.

Both Irving and Durant are back in the fold after each pondered a future elsewhere this summer. Three-time All-Star guard Ben Simmons, who the Nets acquired in the James Harden blockbuster, is also expected to be ready for training camp after undergoing back surgery in May.

With Kevin Durant back in the fold, the Brooklyn Nets are rounding out their roster.

The Nets signed veteran forward Markieff Morris to a one-year deal, pending a physical exam, sources told The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

Morris averaged 7.6 points on 47.4% shooting with the Miami Heat in 2021-22. However, he made just 17 appearances after suffering a neck injury during an on-court altercation with Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic.

The Kansas product was an effective role player during the Los Angeles Lakers’ 2020 championship run. He shot 42% from beyond the arc over 21 postseason contests.

Brooklyn added some frontcourt depth Sunday, signing ex-Toronto Raptors forward Yuta Watanabe.

Kevin Durant isn’t going anywhere after all.

The Brooklyn Nets superstar and his agent met with the club’s brass in Los Angeles on Monday and have agreed to move forward in their partnership, Nets general manager Sean Marks announced Tuesday.

“We are focusing on basketball, with one collective goal in mind: build a lasting franchise to bring a championship to Brooklyn,” Marks said in a statement.

Durant shook the NBA landscape this summer with his trade request. After the club didn’t facilitate a deal, he reportedly issued an ultimatum to the Nets, demanding a trade or the firing of Marks and head coach Steve Nash.

Brooklyn owner Joe Tsai then promptly took to social media to back Nash and Marks.

Durant has four years remaining on his deal, which is worth $194 million. The two-time NBA Finals MVP averaged 29.9 points, 7.4 boards, and 6.4 assists last season. However, injuries have limited Durant to just 90 appearances during his Nets tenure.

The uncertainty surrounding Durant and co-star Kyrie Irving didn’t stop Brooklyn from filling out its roster. The team brought back Patty Mills and Nic Claxton in free agency, traded for 3-and-D wing Royce O’Neale, and signed forward T.J. Warren.

The Memphis Grizzlies have made inquiries to the Brooklyn Nets regarding superstar Kevin Durant, sources told The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

Memphis doesn’t appear willing to include young big man Jaren Jackson Jr. or sharpshooter Desmond Bane in a trade proposal for Durant, sources told Charania. The Grizzlies would rather build the offer around their collection of five first-round picks, which include four unprotected and a 2024 protected Golden State Warriors selection.

The Grizzlies have other young players who could be included in a trade package for the former MVP, including 2021 No. 10 pick Ziaire WilliamsBrandon Clarke, and 2022 draft selections Jake LaRaviaDavid Roddy, and Kennedy Chandler.

Since Durant requested a trade, Brooklyn traded for wing Royce O’Neal, re-signed guard Patty Mills and big man Nic Claxton, and added T.J. Warren in free agency. The Nets are expecting the full return of former Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons and sharpshooter Joe Harris. All-Star guard Kyrie Irving exercised his $37-million player option and the Nets plan to keep him, Charania reports.

Simmons is on track to be cleared for five-on-five practices after undergoing back surgery in May, Charania adds.

The Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors, and Miami Heat remain the biggest threats to land Durant. Other teams have made trade proposals, including the Atlanta Hawks who offered John CollinsDe’Andre Hunter, and a draft pick to the Nets, Charania reports.

Memphis tied its franchise record for wins with 56 this past season, eventually falling in the second round of the playoffs to the eventual champion Warriors. The club signed star guard Ja Morant to a five-year, $193-million extension and also retained Tyus Jones and John Konchar on multi-year deals.

The Brooklyn Nets have not gotten any closer to trading Kevin Durant since the superstar asked the team to dismiss head coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks, reported ESPN’s Brian Windhorst on “Get Up” Monday.

Durant reportedly made the request to Nets owner Joe Tsai earlier in August, with Tsai publically backing his coach and front office member soon after the report surfaced.

Windhorst adds the Nets are reportedly not receiving upgraded trade packages after originally being underwhelmed with the offers they received, while Durant has apparently not forced Brooklyn to ramp up the trade negotiation process following his ultimatum.

NBA teams begin training camp in September, at which time Durant will need to determine whether he’ll report to the Nets if no trade comes to fruition.

Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant is interested in moving to the Philadelphia 76ers, adding another aspect to his lengthy trade request saga, sources told SNY’s Ian Begley.

High-ranking members of the 76ers’ organization are pushing for talks with Brooklyn in hopes of trading for the former MVP, Begley adds.

Any deal with Philadelphia would likely include up-and-coming guard Tyrese Maxey and starting forward Tobias Harris, along with a plethora of draft picks.

Durant would also reunite with a two-time teammate in 76ers guard James Harden, who he had a rocky relationship with at the end of their Nets tenure before the team dealt Harden to Philadelphia in February.

The 33-year-old originally requested a trade at the end of June and reportedly recently told Nets owner Joe Tsai the organization would have to decide between retaining him or head coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks.

In addition to the 76ers, Begley reports that Durant has interest in joining the Boston Celtics, a team that has previously been linked to the scoring forward in recent weeks. However, Durant has reportedly voiced his desire to play alongside Celtics guard Marcus Smart, a likely candidate for the team to send to Brooklyn in a potential trade.

Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai has pledged his support of the coaching staff and front office after Kevin Durant reportedly demanded that the team trade him or fire head coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks

Tsai took to Twitter on Monday, saying, “Our front office and coaching staff have my support. We will make decisions in the best interest of the Brooklyn Nets.”

Durant’s ultimatum is apparently a result of his lack of faith in the team’s direction, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported earlier Monday. The 33-year-old is firm in his stance, Charania adds.

The former MVP requested a trade at the end of June following a disappointing season that ended in a first-round exit. Little was known at the time about his reasons for the decision.

The Nets have reportedly had discussions with nearly every team in the league in hopes of getting a historic package of players and draft picks in return for Durant. Brooklyn reportedly proposed a trade with the Toronto Raptors involving Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes and talked about a deal with the Boston Celtics that would include star Jaylen Brown.

The Raptors, Celtics, and Miami Heat are seen as the most likely trade destinations for Durant, sources told Charania.

The Nets aim to take “every last asset” from their trade partner in any deal for Durant, according to Charania.

Nash, a Hall of Fame point guard, has been at the helm of the Nets for two seasons. It is his first job in professional coaching. Meanwhile, Marks has held the position of general manager since 2016 after being an assistant for the San Antonio Spurs.

The Brooklyn Nets wouldn’t consider trading superstar Kevin Durant to the Toronto Raptors unless the deal included wing Scottie Barnes, Adrian Wojnarowski reported Monday on ESPN’s “Get Up.”

Toronto has no intention of parting with the reigning Rookie of the Year, according to Wojnarowski.

Brooklyn has been fielding offers for Durant since the former MVP requested a trade in June. He reportedly listed the Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat as ideal destinations.

Since then, however, the Suns were forced to match the Indiana Pacers’ offer sheet for big man Deandre Ayton, making him untradeable for at least six months.

A deal with the Heat would also prove difficult. Potential trade chip Bam Adebayo is unable to be dealt to Brooklyn due to the designated rookie extension rule, which came into effect after the Nets traded for point guard Ben Simmons.

Due to these complications and Brooklyn’s rumored affinity for Barnes, the Raptors were seen as ideal candidates. In addition to the 2021 No. 4 pick, Toronto would need to include at least one more core player to match Durant’s $44-million salary.

With the Nets’ options continuing to dwindle, it is becoming increasingly likely that Durant remains in Brooklyn to begin the season, Wojnarowski adds.