The Boston Celtics made noise this summer by trading Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to the Brooklyn Nets. A month later, it is the players who are creating the most buzz with their new team.
This summer Pierce and Terry have spoken out about the confidence they have in the Nets. The veterans have made no secret of their high expectations and are not shy about stirring the waters either.
Pierce, who played the first 15 seasons of his career with the Celtics, was far from a New York Knicks fan during his time in Boston. Now that he is playing in the same state, he has let it be known which team he believes is the best.
"I think the hate [for the Knicks] has grown a little,” Pierce said on "The Michael Kay Show.” “Everybody knows how much I disliked the Knicks when I was with the Celtics, but I think it's grown to another level. I think it's time for the Nets to start running this city."
The Knicks have heard these comments, too. While Raymond Felton thinks rivalries are part of having fun in sports, he defended his team and their place in New York.
“When you’ve got somebody like Paul Pierce talking every day, every week, saying different little things, it’s only going to fuel the rivalry even more,” Felton said, according to the New York Post. “At the end of the day, we’re still New York’s team. We’ve still got ‘New York’ on our chests.”
Knicks super fan Spike Lee chimed in as well. Lee, who has spoken out against Garnett in the past, told ESPNNewYork.com, “I love the fact that people are picking the Knicks fifth or lower in the East. It's great, let people think that. Paul Pierce is talking crazy."
Terry made no secret of his allegiance when he signed with the C’s last season. He quickly inked a Lucky the Leprechaun tattoo, expressed his dislike for the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat, and when asked about former Celtics guard Ray Allen on Media Day, replied, “Who?”
A month after being traded to the Nets, he enthusiastically talked about his new squad, making his loyalty known. There was no tattoo this time, but he let his words paint the picture. During a trip to the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas, home of his good friend Floyd Mayweather, Terry spoke to Doghouse Boxing about his team.
"We’ve got champions,” he said. “When you talk about Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, these guys are Hall of Famers. (Head coach) Jason Kidd, he's a champion, he's a future Hall of Famer. Deron Williams, he's going to be an MVP candidate. Joe Johnson. The names go on and on. Brook Lopez. We’ve got tons of talent, but that's not going to win it alone. We're going to have to put in the work. Then at the end, we're going to have to stay healthy and then you know who the champs are. The road to the championship goes through Miami and we know that. But there's only two people on the Brooklyn Nets who have cracked that code: that's myself and Jason Kidd."
Pierce and Terry have been passionate players their entire careers. Expect to see and hear plenty more of that this season.