There is a natural tension between the Knicks and Nets — the Knicks are the long-established team in New York; the Nets come into Brooklyn, they have been brash, and they are trying to steal part of that market share. Paul Pierce and Raymond Felton have gone back and forth a little on the issue this summer. This is not a full blown rivalry yet (we really need a playoff series between them now to get there) but there is some bad blood.
Or at least was.
Sensing things could get ugly starting with the two owners — Mikhail Prokhorov of the Nets and James Dolan of the Knicks — David Stern called a meeting early last season and told the two sides to sit down and smoke a peace pipe (in a metaphorical sense), reports the New York Post.
“There was such a meeting and the parties both said it was a very cordial and pleasant one,” said one league official with knowledge of the sit-down, which happened early in the season.
The official also confirmed Stern assisted in getting the pair together in an attempt to prevent a wave of spitballs going back and forth over the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges.
Prokhorov and the Nets would love to spark a rivalry — they want to challenge for the heart and soul of New York. They are also a long way from that. The Nets have fans, but at its core New York is a Knicks town and changing that could take generations if it happens at all, something we were told by Kenny Anderson and plenty of other New Yorkers. So the Nets try to stoke the fires a little, then Dolan gets pissed. So everybody wins.
But the two sides have gotten along well enough to reach a deal to share the 2015 NBA All-Star Game, and likely the 2017 or 2018 one as well.
See, everybody is playing nice.