Paul Pierce hated the New York Knicks as a Celtic but now, as a member of the Brooklyn Nets, he's ramped-up that loathing of the Garden dwellers even more — or at least that's what he told Michael Kay on ESPN Radio.
"I think the hate [for the Knicks] has grown a little," he said, reports ESPNNewYork.com. "Everybody knows how much I disliked the Knicks when I was with the Celtics, but I think it's grown to another level... I think it's time for the Nets to start running this city."
Pierce later told reporters at a Sprint H-O-R-S-E event in Manhattan: "The only thing that separates the two teams is a bridge. And both of them are in the same division and both of them are considered contenders. You can't help but say this is probably gonna be the best rivalry in sports next year."
The Nets and Knicks will meet four times in 2013-14. The first game of their regular-season series will be Dec. 5 at Barclays Center.
Both teams made upgrades in the offseason. Brooklyn acquired Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry from the Celtics and also added Andrei Kirilenko in free agency, while New York acquired Andrea Bargnani and signed Metta World Peace.
At first glance, the Knicks may not have the big-name signings this summer of the deep-pocketed Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, but they're coming off a better season than their East River rivals and have a more solid core of younger players.
The Nets aren't "running" New York yet — but this is finally becoming an interesting cross-city rivalry.