Nets Notes: Irving, Simmons, Curry, Watanabe

Nets guard Kyrie Irving, who tweeted a link last Thursday to a film widely viewed as antisemitic, deleted that tweet on Sunday night after a combative exchange with reporters on Saturday, then didn’t speak to the media before or after Monday’s win over Indiana. Head coach Steve Nash said prior to Monday’s game that he views the controversy surrounding Irving as “an opportunity for us to grow and understand new perspectives,” according to Nick Friedell of ESPN.

“I think the organization is trying to take that stance where we can communicate through this,” Nash said. “And try to all come out in a better position and (have) both more understanding and more empathy for every side of this debate and situation.”

As Friedell writes, Nash declined to say whether the Nets considered any disciplinary action for Irving, telling reporters that he wasn’t involved in internal conversations about the issue, since he’s been focused on coaching the team.

While the Nets may want to simply move on from the situation, eight fans who sat courtside on Monday wore shirts that read “Fight Antisemitism” and directed comments at Irving during the game, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. One season-ticket holder, Aaron Jungreis, told Friedell that he thought the team should suspend Irving.

“I hope he realizes how much antisemitism he is stoking by putting out (a link to) a film like this,” Jungreis said. “Which is extremely anti-Jewish. And I hope he comes to his senses. … I think he should be suspended and he should understand what he did, but I don’t know if they will.”

Here’s more on Irving and the Nets:

  • Irving’s behavior, which could once be considered quirky or eccentric, has crossed the line to dangerous, argues Jesse Washington of Andscape, writing that the NBA and/or the Nets should seriously consider consequences to hold Irving accountable. Dan Wolken of USA Today and Eric Koreen of The Athletic make similar cases in columns of their own, while Mike Vaccaro of The New York Post goes a step further, opining that Brooklyn should part ways with the standout guard. Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports, meanwhile, contends that Irving wants the influence of leadership, but none of the responsibility that comes along with it.
  • The Nets held a players-only meeting following Saturday’s loss to Indiana and followed that up with a win on Monday over the Pacers, snapping a four-game losing streak. “Honestly, talk is cheap. Everybody in the organization, we’ve just been pissed off,” starting center Nic Claxton said after Monday’s victory, according to Ian Begley of “We want to be better. So I don’t know (if the meeting had an impact). But everybody being on the same page today, that’s what matters.”
  • Within the same story, Begley says the Nets have had some “cursory” trade talks with at least one Western Conference team since the regular season began, underscoring the sense of urgency the team was feeling to start winning games following a slow start.
  • In a detailed story for ESPN, Friedell takes a look at how the Nets have yo-yo’d back and forth from a tumultuous offseason to an optimistic preseason to a bumpy, drama-filled regular season.
  • Ben Simmons will miss a second consecutive game for Brooklyn on Tuesday vs. Chicago due to left knee soreness, the team announced today (Twitter link via Marc J. Spears of Andscape). Seth Curry (left ankle injury management) also remains sidelined.
  • Yuta Watanabe‘s full-season salary is still non-guaranteed, but he’s seeing an increased role as of late off the bench for the Nets, knocking down 5-of-7 three-pointers in his last four games. “We’ve always really liked him,” Nash said of Watanabe, who played 22 minutes in Monday’s win (link via Alex Schiffer of The Athletic). “He’s a basketball player. The way he handles the pass, makes shots and he’s a smart defender. I thought he did a good job with the scouting report. You could see him use that to his advantage in one-on-one situations, and he adds dimension to our team as we’re trying to get bodies back in the lineup. It’s really important to have players like that who step in and do multiple things.”
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