The Brooklyn Nets were eliminated Monday night in sad and depressing fashion. Swept at home with much of the crowd cheering for the Celtics. Swept at home after Kevin Durant missed a pivotal free throw. Swept at home with Kyrie Irving being outplayed by Marcus Smart. Swept at home after shrinking in this series like mental midgets.

There were many symbols of the disaster that unfolded for the Nets this season, too many to detail in this column space. All of them are unnerving to anybody with a stake in the future of this franchise. But none feel more ominous than the absence of Ben Simmons.

He was nowhere in sight on the Nets bench, not even to cheer on his teammates while wearing his customary DNP Elton John outfits. We were given a new reason Simmons wasn’t playing in Monday’s 116-112 defeat, an absence that ensured he missed this entire season. Simmons is apparently dealing with a mental issue, or, as coach Steve Nash vaguely referenced, “there’s a mental component to everything.”

We knew there might’ve been a problem with Simmons’ head space after his fallout in Philadelphia. It’s the basis for filing a grievance to recoup nearly $20 million in salary from the Sixers. Okay, fine. Except, three things: 1) GM Sean Marks should’ve considered this issue, along with Simmons’ propensity for back pain, before they traded for a player with three years left on a max contract, 2) Why should there be an expectation, following an entire year of being unable to play through this “mental component,” that Simmons will ever return to court, let alone at the same All-Star level of a couple seasons ago, and 3) the Nets and Steve Nash aren’t trustworthy. They’ve lost all credibility this season, and that’s not meant to be insensitive to whatever Simmons is going through. It’s meant to call out the Nets for their lies and misleading.

Take what they say with a grain of salt. That includes after Monday night’s loss, when Nash claimed that a team with title aspirations performed appropriately given the off-the-court drama. Nash’s bar was apparently lowered to the floor.

“When you add it up, it’s hard to say we underperformed,” Nash said.

Remember when Nash claimed everything was great with James Harden and he wasn’t going to be traded? About a week later, Harden was traded. Remember when Sean …read more

Source:: The Mercury News


There’s plenty of blame to go around in the epic Nets disaster

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