3 Nets Who Won't Return Next Season

Feb 9, 2023; Brooklyn, New York, USA;  Brooklyn Nets General Manager Sean Marks addresses the media
Feb 9, 2023; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets General Manager Sean Marks addresses the media / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Lonnie Walker

The 2023-2024 campaign was a tale of two seasons for Lonnie Walker. Brooklyn actually looked like a playoff team earlier in the season, getting off to a hot start before falling apart. Lonnie Walker was a strong reason for the success as a great scorer off the bench providing an offensive punch needed on a roster with few shot creators.

Unfortunately, injuries and negative variables saw Walker missing time and losing his established role on the team when he returned. Interim coach Kevin Ollie even publicly called him out for not contributing to other areas beyond scoring and iso plays.

Walker is not expected to return to the Nets in free agency after the season ended poorly and exposed his one-dimensional play. Better teams with limited cap space will look to sign Walker for some scoring depth off the bench, and he’ll be better served playing for a team that doesn’t rely on him to do much else.

3. Ben Simmons

The most criticized player of the 2023-2024 season for Brooklyn was Ben Simmons, and for good reason. Simmons had the perfect chance to rebuild his career and even looked good earlier in the season during the team’s hot start. The Nets roster’s biggest weakness is that the most credible players like Mikal Bridges, Nicolas Claxton, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Cam Johnson need others to set up shots for them.

Simmons will always be mocked for his inability to score effectively, but his passing was a massive help for Brooklyn as the one true facilitator on the roster. Unfortunately, injury woes continued to hurt Simmons with just fifteen games played. Simmons has gone three consecutive seasons playing 42 games or fewer to make him a lost cause. Cam Thomas was the only Net to get easy shot attempts due to his iso style, but the other Nets struggled without a great passer on the roster.

There will be skepticism of any team trading for Simmons and his massive salary, but his deal is surprisingly more valuable since it’s an expiring contract. A rebuilding team looking to get other contracts off the books, like Portland with multiple frontcourt players or Washington with Jordan Poole could create deals. Expect the Nets to shop Simmons and settle for any improvement for next season, especially at the guard position.