You can’t walk a block in New York City without seeing an orange-and-blue or black-and-white jersey, but those fans could also be sporting frowns next spring. The Nets and Knicks, for all of their star power both on the court and on the sidelines, aren’t looking all that formidable heading into the 2014/15 season.
The high-priced Nets started to give Mikhail Prokhorov his money’s worth starting in the the second half of last season, but they won’t be bringing the same team back this year. Coach Jason Kidd shocked everyone when he bolted for the Bucks and Paul Pierce quickly followed suit. Pierce was a vocal leader, a solid scoring threat, and the key to the team’s Brook Lopez-less small ball lineup. The Nets get Lopez back this year and while the return of one of the league’s top offensive centers is nothing to sneeze at, it’s worth noting that the team enjoyed greater success with Lopez in a suit and tie. Highly touted draft-and-stash pick Bojan Bogdanovic is finally joining the team, but the Nets will surely miss guard Shaun Livingston, especially with starting one-guard Deron Williams coming off of double ankle surgery.
Meanwhile, the Knicks accomplished their No. 1 goal of retaining Carmelo Anthony but it’s hard to say whether they’ve actually improved from last season. Their biggest transaction of the offseason, aside from re-signing Melo, was trading Tyson Chandler and Ray Felton to the Mavericks for Jose Calderon, Wayne Ellington, Samuel Dalembert, Shane Larkin, a pair of second round picks (Cleanthony Early and Thanasis Antetokounmpo). Later, in a trade with the Kings, the Knicks turned Ellington and Jeremy Tyler into forwards Quincy Acy and Travis Outlaw. To oversee this tweaked version of the Knicks, new team president Phil Jackson appointed the inexperienced Derek Fisher as head coach. Fisher believes the Knicks can win 8-10 more games as currently constructed, but not everyone agrees with him.
How do you see things playing out for NYC’s teams?