The Brooklyn Nets have undergone a major facelift this offseason, and Paul Pierce is well aware of it. He and his new teammates in Brooklyn will look to make a name for themselves in the Eastern Conference after making the playoffs in 2012-13.
Pierce recently told ESPN New York that "I think it's time for the Nets to start running this city." Brooklyn, entering just its second season in New York City will face stiff competition from the New York Knicks for that title. The Knicks have been the city's team for nearly its entire existence, so ripping that distinction away will be no easy task.
Other teams are making a lot of noise with their big, major announcements with every move, like the Nets. The Knicks have been very quiet assembling their team, which I love. I love the fact that people are picking the Knicks fifth or lower in the East. It's great; let people think that. Paul Pierce is talking crazy.
While Lee is definitely stirring the pot by saying Pierce is talking crazy, he could also be on to something. The Nets may have made the most shocking deals of the offseason (Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry from Boston; the Andrei Kirilenko signing), but the Knicks have also added a lot of talent.
Metta World Peace, Andrea Bargnani, Beno Udrih and Jeremy Tyler are all under-the-radar acquisitions that will improve the team. The Knicks didn't make huge splashes in free agency or trades because a large portion of the roster was already in place. Raymond Felton, Iman Shumpert, Tyson Chandler and Carmelo Anthony represent a strong core.
The Nets didn't necessarily have that luxury. Outside of Deron Williams and Brook Lopez, much of their 2012-13 roster was streaky and unreliable. In order to compete, the Nets almost needed to make big moves.
Pierce implying that the Nets can overtake New York City is crazy, though. Even if Brooklyn were lucky enough to win the NBA Finals this season, that still wouldn't be enough to win over the city. The Knicks have a storied history and a team just two seasons into its career in NYC won't be able to trump their accomplishments.
Lee has never been shy about expressing his feelings about the Knicks and their rivals, and this spat with Pierce is no exception. Sure, Lee is the biggest homer of them all. That doesn't stop the fact that his statement is valid, though.
The Knicks will be New York's team until they are no longer capable of doing so. Given their quietly strong offseason, that doesn't appear to be the case for the near future.
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