Nets Simmons Basketball

Ben Simmons is set to begin training camp next week with no restrictions after two injury-shortened seasons in Brooklyn. Matt Slocum/Associated Press

NEW YORK — Ben Simmons is set to begin training camp next week with no restrictions after two injury-shortened seasons in Brooklyn.

If he stays healthy, Simmons may even be able to return to his roots as a point guard.

Nets Coach Jacque Vaughn said Tuesday that the former All-Star has been playing 5-on-5 this summer and will have an expanded role offensively if he can avoid further injuries.

Simmons didn’t play after the All-Star break last season, slowed by a sore left knee and then shut down early because of a nerve injury in his back. Simmons had largely fallen out of the rotation even before then, with Vaughn now saying he his learned through their discussions this summer that the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft simply didn’t have the strength to do some of the things his coach wanted after undergoing back surgery the previous offseason.

“But the things that I’m asking him to do going forward, I think he can physically do now,” Vaughn said.

Simmons still views himself as a lead guard, the position he played while earning three All-Star selections in Philadelphia. He played as a forward or backup center last season in Brooklyn, where Kyrie Irving was the point guard when Simmons arrived in a trade for James Harden in February 2022.


With Irving now in Dallas and Simmons seemingly back at full strength, Vaughn said their agreement is that Simmons will be able to play the way he wants if he shows he can handle it.

“I think if Ben is able to play consistently in a certain way, there’s no doubt then that he should have the basketball in his hands,” Vaughn said. “You have to guard him with the basketball in his hands.”

MAGIC JOHNSON’S love for his Los Angeles Lakers has kept him from considering ownership of any other NBA team, but the New York Knicks would be the one franchise that could make him have second thoughts.

“I think it would be intriguing,” Johnson said. “The only team I would actually probably think about is the New York Knicks.”

Johnson arrived in New York for a speaking engagement at a YMCA from Washington, where the member of the Commanders’ new ownership group watched his NFL team lose to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

Once back in Los Angeles, he will gear up for his Dodgers to begin play in baseball’s postseason. But the basketball Hall of Famer repeatedly has passed on opportunities for ownership in the sport he knows best.

Johnson named the Golden State Warriors, Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks as teams he turned down, rather than find himself in competition with the Lakers. The Knicks, though, offer something different.

CLIPPERS: Former Celtics guard Brodric Thomas has found a new home ahead of training camp after agreeing to a deal with the Clippers, according to reports.

Thomas, 26, spent parts of two seasons with the Celtics before being one of the final cuts during training camp last year. He posted 1.8 points and 0.9 assists per game for Boston over his 12 appearances and has suited up for 44 regular-season games in total.

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