Newly crowned member of the Brooklyn Nets Paul Pierce has a personal vendetta he is seeking to carry about against the Knicks. It’s been that way for more than 15 years, when he began his career with the Boston Celtics. That was never going to change, especially now that he represents the same territory.
So it should come as no surprised that he’s spearheaded a war of words, declaring it’s time for the Nets to take over New York. Vociferous predictions, essential war cries are Pierce’s thing when it comes to rivalries. This was to be expected.
As was Raymond Felton’s response. His defiance was representative of a player loyal to his team and the city they plays for. Positing that the Nets would never steal New York from the Knicks is him being a, well, good Knick.
But Shumpert doesn’t want to hear about Pierce. About this rivalry. About what the Nets did this offseason. He won’t indulge The Truth’s attempt to rattle the cages.
Asked if he was worried about the Nets and for his thoughts on their quest to achieve city-wide superiority, Shumpert simply turned the other cheek.
“The Knicks are worried about the Knicks,’’ Shumpert said, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. “We’ll talk during the season.’’
Not the most illustrious of trash talk, I know, but Shump’s sentiments got the job done.
Talking smack is a part of the NBA, and it’s one of the things fans love about mutual hatred between two teams most. Verbal jabs fuel competitive fires; they give either franchise more to play for.
Such chatter is useless, however, when the two organizations in question have yet to face each other. Had the Knicks and Nets remained exactly the same over the offseason, then yeah, player opinions become more meaningful. But neither team is the same. Brooklyn traded for Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry. And it signed Andrei Kirilenko. And the Knicks traded for Andrea Bargnani, and signed Metta World Peace and Beno Udrih. These teams are different.
Which makes any and all trash talk more about player egos than it does the matchup itself. We don’t technically know who will be the better team or who will win the Atlantic Division. And any guesses we wager are based off theories that have yet to be tested.
Because the Knicks and Nets have yet to play each other as they are.
Either side can talk as much smack as they want, it doesn’t change the fact that we just don’t know. For my part, I see the Knicks winning the division again. Maybe you agree, maybe you don’t. We’ll find out who’s right and who’s wrong once the season begin.
Until then, let the trash talk litter the headlines like a smoker disposing of his cigarette butts. Just don’t expect Shump to take part in the verbal-bashing festivities. He’s not worried about Pierce. Or the Nets. Or how good they may be. He’s worried about the Knicks and how they’re going to get better. Which is all he can really worry about anyway this time of year.
Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.