Paul Pierce started it.
“It’s going to be what it was, but now on steroids. This is a city battle. We’re going to divide that city now. Before this was the Knicks town, but now that I’m here we’re going to call it Nets…Nets Village. It’s going to go from Knicks Town to Nets Village. It’s our time.”
And Knicks guard Raymond Felon responded.
“They will never take over the city. Because we’ve got ‘New York’ on our chest. They’ve got ‘Brooklyn’ on their chest, and we’ve got ‘New York.’ They’ll never take over the city.”
Both the Knicks and Nets had busy offseasons, but all of this continuing hype about the upgrades that Brooklyn’s made since their season came to an abrupt, first-round exit, has brought up the discussion over whose city this is. The Mecca of basketball will always belong to the Knicks. The Knicks claimed the hearts of New Yorkers all over the Empire State in 1946, the year they were inaugurated into the men’s National Basketball League.
Being one of the only two original teams to remain in their original location, along with the cross-town rival Boston Celtics, the Knicks have left their stamp on who really owns New York. Looking at it now, with the Nets’ “upgrades” of Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry, and Paul Pierce, Brooklyn’s presence in the Eastern Conference may only be a rental as those three players are closer to retirement than Betty White.
Here are the key offseason additions and departures for both of New York City’s teams:
Additions: Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry, Andrei Kirilenko, Alan Anderson, Mason Plumlee, (Andray Blatche re-signed)
Subtractions: Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks, Gerald Wallace, Keith Bogans
New Head Coach: Jason Kidd
Since their owner is ridiculously wealthy, and more than willing to go above-and-beyond the luxury tax, the Nets made a good move with the Celtics to acquire three established veterans to throw in with a lineup already possessing Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez. However, unless they stay healthy and are able to somehow cool down the fire in Miami, which they won’t, they will be stuck with not one, not two, but three old has-beens. The Nets will be hit with the injury bug, much like the Knicks did this season, and will replicate the season the Lakers had this year. Unfortunately for the Lakers, they weren’t in the Eastern Conference, therefore just being able to slip into the 8-seed. The Nets will be an intimidating 6-seed in the Eastern Conference this season.
New York Knicks
Additions: Andrea Bargnani, Metta World Peace, Beno Udrih, Tim Hardaway, Jr., CJ Leslie, Jeremy Tyler (Kenyon Martin & Pablo Prigioni re-signed)
Subtractions: Jason Kidd, Steve Novak, Chris Copeland, Chris Camby
I don’t get why everyone is hating on the Knicks decision to trade for the Italian 7-footer, Andrea Bargnani. When you look at what they gave up for him how could you not think the Knicks won this trade. There was Marcus Camby, who averaged 1.8 points per game on 10 minutes of play, Steve Novak, whose 3-point field goal percentage declined this season, Quentin Richardson, who played one game for the Knicks during the regular season, a 2016 first-rounder that will most likely be a 20’s pick, and two second-rounders for a stretch forward who will space the floor and allow Carmelo Anthony to slide back into his original position at Small Forward. I think it’s a win-win for New York as they were able to dump off old, deteriorating players for one useful potential rotation player. Andrea Bargnani’s career will be revived in NYC… you heard it here first.
Sooo…back to why New York City is in possession of the New York Knicks.
- The basketball atmosphere
The Garden is one of the most exciting arenas in all of sports, and nothing will change that. The Barclays Center is new and hip but unfortunately for them, all that their stadium claims hold to is a first-round exit via the Bulls and a few Jay-Z concerts. No banners, just some over-priced sushi and flashy lights.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe Jason Kidd will be an incredible head coach one day, maybe even in the next couple years, but that being said, Mike Woodson has 17 years of coaching experience in the NBA. Debuting as a head coach in 2004 with the Atlanta Hawks, Mike’s career took off as he now has all the intangibles to take the Knicks to the promised land. Without one day of coaching experience, Jason Kidd jumped from playing a vital role in the Knicks early season success last year as a point guard, to head coach of the Brooklyn Nets. Though he played the “floor general” for well over a decade and is about as for sure of a first-ballot hall of famer there is, Mike Woodson controls the coaching slot as there are too many what-ifs when it comes to Jason Kidd’s potential as a head coach.
This is a tricky one because from the outside-looking-in, it appears that the Nets have the better starting lineup. But hear me out. With Carmelo Anthony scoring just under 30 points per game last season on his way to the scoring title, the Knicks know what they’re getting from a production standpoint with Anthony. On the other side, with Deron Williams’ drop from elite-status last season, Joe Johnson’s worst season since 2003 when he was a member of the Phoenix Suns, Brook Lopez’s past two seasons of injuries, and the aging core of Pierce and Garnett, Nets fans shouldn’t be all that excited about their chances to challenge the top of the Eastern Conference.
Here’s a look at my Knicks’ projected lineup for the upcoming season:
PG- Raymond Felton
SG- Pablo Prigioni
SF- Carmelo Anthony
6- JR Smith
7- Amar’e Stoudemire
9-Metta World Peace
10-Tim Hardaway Jr.
….and here’s a look at my Nets’ projected lineup for the upcoming season:
6- Andrei Kirilenko
The Nets starting lineup is appealing until you realize the types of seasons these guys have been having prior to them all teaming up to form a “super team” in Brooklyn. Besides the lift off the bench from Andrei Kirilenko, who was a huge steal this offseason for the Nets, the bench is weak. Jason Terry is too streaky, Andray Blatche is Andray Blatche, and all Reggie Evans can do is grab rebounds and flop. The Knicks bench however, is full of productive players that will put the team in another class by the time this season is over with. Who knows, Amar’e Stoudemire could finally figure this Melo combo out, I doubt it, but that’s some Knick-fan optimism right there. JR Smith just had the best season of his career while winning the 6th Man of the Year.
The Knicks are an experienced team. So are the Nets. But this squad in the blue and orange was the number two seed last season in the East. They have all the weapons to potentially challenge the Heat for positioning in the East but, when all is said and done, you really have to figure that the Heat are going to three-peat, leaving the Knicks with another season that could have been. But that’s not what this article’s about. This article’s about why New York is still owned by the Knicks. Until Brooklyn gets more rings than the Knicks, who have two, the Knicks will remain the team of New York.
Paul Pierce needs to put up or shut up if he thinks his squad in Brooklyn will take over New York.
Article by: Ryan Manley