Butler missed Tuesday’s Game 5 because of his right k…

Butler missed Tuesday’s Game 5 because of his right knee issue and Lowry missed Games 4 and 5 after tweaking his hamstring during Game 3 of the first round on April 22. The hope is both will be available when the Heat opens its second-round series against the 76ers on Monday at FTX Arena, but Heat coach Erik Spoelstra wasn’t ready Friday to give a definitive comment on their status. “Physically, each day we’ll get a better idea,” Spoelstra said. “But everybody has made progress. Everybody was doing something, whether it was in the practice or on the side. I took that as an encouraging sign.”
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Windhorst went on to say the Nets aren’t coming off asking for a big return for Durant in a trade. And that Brooklyn has no leverage with other teams, same as Durant has no leverage with the Nets. “I think what we have here is really a study of leverage. First off, the Nets do not have leverage in trade talks with other teams. They are not giving them the offers that they want. They see no reason to increase them. So, they’re not making any progress there,” said Windhorst. “Kevin Durant clearly does not have leverage with the Brooklyn Nets. He is asking for things: ‘Get me traded. Fire the coach. Fire the GM.’ He is being told no. So, when you have denied leverage, you have a stalemate.”
When it comes to Simmons, his unique skill set is incredibly enticing, but his best ability will be availability. Fortunately, according to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, that won’t be a problem for Simmons in 2022-23: “You and Kyrie and Ben Simmons — who, by the way, news flash here. I ran into Ben Simmons. He and I had a nice conversation … I support the brother. I had a problem with him not playing. That’s the past. He’s ready to go. He swears he’s ready to go.”