The Knicks and Nets rivalry may have only been truly borne last year, but it really blossomed this offseason after three Celtics with long-standing conflicts with New York, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry, were sent to the Nets in a draft-night trade. Pierce has long tortured New York with prolific performances, KG got into it with Carmelo Anthony last year, and J.R. Smith elbowed Terry in the head in last year's playoffs.
Speaking of Smith, he and Pierce have exchanged words this offseason through the media. Pierce said the Nets would run New York, and Smith called Pierce "a bitter person." On Thursday, Pierce responded, in typical Pierce fashion.
When Paul Pierce was asked about J.R. Smith calling him "bitter," Pierce said, "who? Who? Who?"— Al Iannazzone (@Al_Iannazzone) September 19, 2013
This of course made me think of...
But that's not really how Pierce meant it.
The rivalry is largely a fake one, as most NBA rivalries have become. There are exceptions (Pacers-Heat is one), but for the most part, players know it's a business and hang out in the offseason together. But this rivalry is kind of like professional wrestling or a magic show. It's only fun if you allow yourself to suspend disbelief and focus on the fireworks.