When the Nets moved from New Jersey to Brooklyn, there’s no question they wanted to cut into the Knicks’ fan base and market share in the nation’s largest media market.
The team’s billionaire owner has been spending money to bring star-level talent to immediately infuse the franchise, and on paper, it may seem as though the Nets are primed for a run next season that could possibly leave their New York counterparts in the dust.
Not so fast, says J.R. Smith.
Speaking at his charity golf tournament on Thursday, Smith was quick to shoot down the notion that the Nets are somehow more relevant than his Knicks, despite their offseason acquisitions.
J.R. Smith, in his first remarks of the offseason and since left-knee surgery, still “hopes’’ to play opening night and claimed the Knicks are still the team of New York – no matter what the Brooklyn Nets did this summer.
“It’s an unbelievable move for JKidd to have a team like that to start off his first year,’’ Smith said at his charity golf tournament in Lakewood, N.J. “They have a great chance to compete for a title. But we’re still the marquee team in New York. A lot of people are counting us out just like last year . We have a lot to prove. We ‘ll come out with a lot of edge and hopefully put it to positive use on the court.’
As a reminder, the Knicks finished the regular season at second place in the Eastern Conference standings behind only the eventual champion Miami Heat.
What Smith is saying here isn’t really news, and it shouldn’t come as any surprise. But it’s 100 percent factual nonetheless.
Much like the Lakers and the Clippers in Los Angeles, one team is firmly embedded in the city’s consciousness as the favorite, and the other is a nice distraction for when it’s a down year for the more storied franchise.
In L.A., the Clippers would have to win five championships in a decade to even begin to chip away at the Lakers market share, and while the Knicks haven’t sniffed a title in decades, a similar act of dominance would need to take place for the Nets to overtake the Knicks as New York’s team of choice.