Easily outdoing Jets–Giants and Mets–Yankees, the National Basketball Association’s budding Knicks vs. Nets rivalry has developed into a serious arms race. The Knicks get Carmelo and Stoudemire, develop Shumpert and Felton into stars. The Nets move to Brooklyn, get Deron Williams, mold Brook Lopez into a star, and then land Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and clutch killer Jason Terry. The Knicks get Andrea Bargnani and Metta World Peace (who grew up in NYC’s own Queensbridge Houses). The Nets get Andrei Kirilenko and name Jason Kidd (ex-Net and, briefly, Knick) their coach. Don’t forget how bad the franchises’ respective owners—James “Cranky” Dolan vs. Mikhail “The Oligarch” Prokhorov—want to win. Prokhorov recently called Dolan “that little man.” (Don’t think Dolan didn’t resent that: He actually complained to NBA commissioner David Stern about it.) Can Pierce (age 35) and Garnett (37) withstand the rigors of another season? Will KG and Carmelo clash again, as they did last season? Will Carmelo play team ball? Can Williams get even better? Can Kidd, who took the Nets to two NBA finals, get the team to jell from the sidelines as well as he did on the court? Will Knicks rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. develop into the star that his talent and lineage suggest? These storylines and more have just begun to play out.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 16, 2013