The Nets and Knicks will renew their intracity rivalry this season as both teams hope to get off to faster starts than they did in 2013/14. Each club figures to be in the mix for a playoff spot again this season, so while we wait to see if we’ll have a subway series come the postseason, here’s the latest from the Big Apple:
- Nets GM Billy King insists the team is still doggedly pursuing a championship and isn’t focused on making financial cutbacks, telling reporters, including Newsday’s Rod Boone, that he still has permission from owner Mikhail Prokhorov to make expensive acquisitions. King made his remarks in response to Paul Pierce‘s assertion that the team was no longer willing to spend to win. ” . . . We have some younger guys like Mason Plumlee who are under rookie contracts, and that helps your payroll. But [Prokhorov] hasn’t wavered in pursuit of what he wants,” King said.
- That seems to conflict with King’s admission last month that money was a factor in the team’s decision not to re-sign Pierce and that the club doesn’t want to repeat its more than $190MM expenditure on players and luxury taxes last season. Pierce’s representatives with Excel Sports Management asked the Nets for a two-year, $24MM deal this summer, but the Nets didn’t want to pay that much, according to Boone.
- Former Magic GM John Gabriel‘s influence is growing within the Knicks front office, reports Marc Berman of the New York Post. Gabriel, who holds the title of director of basketball operations, is on the upswing while former Nuggets GM and current Knicks director of player personnel Mark Warkentien is losing sway, and assistant GM Allan Houston doesn’t have the pull that he once had, either, Berman adds.
- The Knicks have hired former D-League assistant and small college head coach Kevin Whitted as head coach of their D-League affiliate, the team announced. Whitted went to college with Houston, who serves as the GM of the Knicks D-League affiliate in addition to his duties with the big club.