Paul Pierce has a vision for the upgraded Brooklyn Nets, and it is one that the New York Knicks cannot embrace.
“It’s time for the Nets to start running this city,” Pierce said on ESPN radio Thursday.
Ouch, Knick fans.
With a roster that includes recently acquired Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry and holdovers Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, center Brook Lopez, the perennial all-star forward has reason to believe Brooklyn could make dramatic changes in NYC. He has the right attitude to move on it.
“I think the hate [for the Knicks] has grown a little,” Pierce said. “Everybody knows how much I disliked the Knicks when I was with the Celtics, but I think it’s grown to another level.”
Knicks’ allegiance runs long and deep. Brooklyn moved from New Jersey two years ago and is building its fan base. But Pierce is not into winning fans. He plans to win games.
“The only thing that separates the two teams is a bridge,” he said. “And both (teams) 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. The Knicks have added Metta World Peace and Andre Bargnani to their roster.
“I don’t have to use anything to motivate me, a trade or anything like that, for me to say I want to win a championship,” Pierce said. “I’ve only got so many more years left in my career, so ultimately the goal is to try to win another one or two, as many as I can before I retire. That’s the motivation right there.”
“I’m really settling in nicely and just embracing the change and looking forward to it,” he said.
Pierce said he’s a “self-motivated” person and won’t be solely inspired because the Celtics dealt him after he played 15 seasons in Boston.
Pierce can speak so boldly because he said the Nets are the most talented team–at least on paper–that he has been on in his NBA career.
“What team in the NBA can say they can put a starting five out there with all the guys have been All-Stars?” Pierce said. “That’s tough. It’s definitely the most talented team, but come the end of the year — June, July — when I’m out there on the beach, I want to say this is the best team I’ve ever played on and the only way we can do that is to win a championship.
“I want to be that guy that says I was one of the first guys to put a banner in Brooklyn.”
To surpass the Knicks requires one thing: winning.
“So I just want to instill that in the teammates, the organization,” Pierce said. “This is our time. This is it. A lot of players, a lot of teams, you don’t get this opportunity. It’s tough. I played so many years with so many bad teams — it’s like, when you get these opportunities, you cherish them.”