A (pending) Sunday night loss to the Lakers was all that separated Nets coach Lawrence Frank from tying the NBA’s mark of most consecutive losses to open a season (17), and perhaps as a weird sign of respect for the winningest coach in franchise history, Frank was relieved of his duties earlier today. Though GM Rod Thorn lowered the boom in a Sunday afternoon press release, there’s been not a peep from Bruce Ratner, who essentially sent Frank into battle armed with a toothpick. As the Star-Ledger’s Dave D’Alessandro put it so well earlier this week, “sometimes you even wonder whether having a coach even matters around here. ”

Everyone knew all along that he was set up to fail. Everyone knew they told him he™d have the pieces to compete “ until they decided not to touch the roster or spend a dime after draft night. Everyone knew they told him he can choose who gets to play, until they told him who has to play. Everyone knew they told him it that wins really wouldn™t matter “ until they would matter. Everyone knew they told him he™d learn to live without Vince, but that he should still figure out how to win a two-minute game without his only closer.

If Thorn is honest about why they™re in this ditch, he™ll admit that it™s ownership “ not the coach “ who has ordered him to sit on his wallet and dump his best players for inferior or less durable talents.

It™s ownership “ not the coach “ that has this team entombed in a cement slab on the side of a highway rather than a vibrant, state-of-the-sport facility that could actually generate some excitement.

And it™s ownership “ not the coach — that is messing with Thorn™s legacy, and don™t think that part doesn™t irritate everyone who reveres The Boss inside the organization and around the NBA.

In fact, we should not be asking Thorn why it™s time for a new coach, but whether it™s time for a new guy in the corner office, because the current occupant has been tainted by every regressive move enforced since 2004.