In third season, no buzz about Nets-Knicks rivalry; Prokhorov deputy laughs at owner's championship vow
Deron Williams, who has played in 13 Knicks-Nets games over five seasons, described the current state of the rivalry with one word.From his father Filip Bondy in the Daily News, Nets the best bet in New York while Knicks try to hit lottery:
The point guard couldn’t even recall that both teams were playing well just two seasons ago.
“That seems like such a long time ago,” he said.
That’s not an indictment of the buzz being lifted from the newness of a borough rivalry, but rather a reflection on the sad state of New York basketball.
There’s a basketball game Friday in Brooklyn, a real one that actually means something after all. It didn’t look as if that were possible, even a week ago, but now any New York fan who wants to see better things around here should be rooting hard for the Nets when they face the Knicks at Barclays Center.From The Fatalist, an intriguing profile in Grantland of Irina Pavlova, president of Onexim Sports and Entertainment Holding and thus "the official conduit between the Nets business management, the NBA, and ownership":
The Knicks, we know, are better off losing. They are playing for nothing but Ping-Pong balls. And this game definitely is not about inter-borough bragging rights, because there is no rivalry. “Watered down over the years,” Joe Johnson said Thursday. “Neither one of us is making any noise, really.”
The Nets might still bring some decibels, if things go right. They are coming off two quality wins against the Clippers and Raptors. They are chasing a postseason berth in a year when absolutely anything might happen in the playoffs.
The story back then wasn’t about winning, but it was about a desire to win. [owner Mikhail] Prokhorov did not buy this team with the intention of being patient. He promised a championship within five years, or else he, notoriously a bachelor, would get married. Pavlova always laughs when she’s reminded of his vow. She responds with a smile and some common sense. “It’s like, what did people expect a new owner to say? ‘Well, maybe we’ll get a championship, I don’t know, in 20 years.’ Or, ‘Ehhhh, we’re not really going to compete for a championship, we’re just going to have fun!’” she told me. “He put a stake in the ground. Obviously we’ll try to get there. Whether we do or not is a different story.”
His vow may have been rhetorical, a fun little bit of bravado in front of the press, but it was reflected in his front office’s moves. The Nets were either going to win soon or not at all.