NBA Rumors: Latest on Ben Simmons' Return, Jerami Grant Trade Buzz and More

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistMarch 26, 2022

NBA Rumors: Latest on Ben Simmons' Return, Jerami Grant Trade Buzz and More

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    The Brooklyn Nets haven't been the superteam that many expected this season. Kyrie Irving is now allowed to play in home games, but he's been in and out of the lineup for most of the season. James Harden played an inconsistent brand of basketball and was eventually traded to the Philadelphia 76ers for Ben Simmons.

    Brooklyn holds a play-in spot as it stands, but it could still be a force in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Having Irving at home will help. Getting Simmons into the lineup would help even more.

    As the regular season winds down, teams like Brooklyn are focused on the postseason and play-in tournament. Others, like the already-eliminated Detroit Pistons, are already eying the upcoming offseason.

    With the play-in tournament just over two weeks away—it's set to begin on April 12—now is a great time to check in on some of the latest NBA buzz.

Nets Expect Simmons to Play This Year

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    If Simmons is going to play before or during the playoffs, he needs to overcome the back injury that has him sidelined. Simmons recently received an epidural to treat a herniated disk, and according to coach Steve Nash, the results have been positive.

    According to Brian Lewis of the New York Post, Nash said Simmons "is feeling a lot less pain."

    Brooklyn isn't going to rush Simmons on to the court from here, but the organization is optimistic that he'll play this year, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.

    "The last thing you want to do, especially with a back injury, is bring him back when he has the disc issue and you rush it," Charania told The Pat McAfee Show. "I think they're going to be cautious with it, but there’s an expectation around the Nets that Ben Simmons will play this year."

    Simmons hasn't played this season, for Philadelphia or Brooklyn, so we may not see him in an extensive role if and when he does return. However, having the three-time All-Star in any capacity would provide a boost.

    With Simmons in the fold and Irving allowed to play in home games following an amendment to New York City's COVID-19 vaccine mandate, Brooklyn could be a challenger in the East.

Portland the Front-Runner for a Jerami Grant Trade

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    The Pistons aren't completely on the opposite end of the spectrum from Brooklyn, but that's only because the Nets haven't locked up a playoff spot yet. Detroit has already been eliminated from postseason contention. For the Pistons, it's time to look ahead to the offseason.

    There's no guarantee that Detroit's offseason will include a trade of forward Jerami Grant. The 28-year-old is under contract through the 2022-23 season and could be part of Detroit's future. However, the Pistons could also look to get something in return for him as part of the rebuilding effort.

    If the Pistons do decide to move Grant, the Portland Trail Blazers appear to be the front-runners.

    "If Jerami gets traded anywhere this offseason, it's going to be Portland," The Athletic's James Edwards III told Michael Scotto of the HoopsHype podcast. "It feels like Portland is still the front-runner. In terms of Jerami's future in Detroit, I think it's interesting. They like him, and he likes it here. I think where they pick in the draft is going to have some type of impact on what they decide to do."

    Edwards noted that a lot will hinge on how high of a pick Portland lands in the draft. As Edwards also noted, though, the Pistons like Grant, and they may not be willing to part with him at all if they feel they can land another centerpiece in the draft.

Jalen Brunson Among Potential Detroit's Free-Agent Targets

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    If Simmons is going to play before or during the playoffs, he needs to overcome the back injury that has him sidelined. Simmons recently received an epidural to treat a herniated disk, and according to coach Steve Nash, the results have been positive.

    According to Brian Lewis of the New York Post, Nash said Simmons "is feeling a lot less pain."

    Brooklyn isn't going to rush Simmons on to the court from here, but the organization is optimistic that he'll play this year, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.

    "The last thing you want to do, especially with a back injury, is bring him back when he has the disc issue and you rush it," Charania told The Pat McAfee Show. "I think they're going to be cautious with it, but there's an expectation around the Nets that Ben Simmons will play this year."

    Simmons hasn't played this season, for Philadelphia or Brooklyn, so we may not see him in an extensive role if and when he does return. However, having the three-time All-Star in any capacity would provide a boost.

    With Simmons in the fold and Irving allowed to play in home games following an amendment to New York City's COVID-19 vaccine mandate, Brooklyn could be a challenger in the East.

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