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NBA Rivalries: New York Knicks vs. Brooklyn Nets

When you think of NBA rivalries, the one between the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Jets is not one of the most prominent ones. That's despite being across New York City where you would expect proximity to play a key role in a rivalry being built. There are several reasons why the rivalry between the two franchises has never truly caught the attention of basketball fans. For the latest in New York Knicks odds, check out our dedicated Knicks sportsbook.

Why There Should Be A Rivalry Between The Two Franchises
The simple fact that both franchises compete in the same Atlantic Division in the Eastern Conference should be enough for a rivalry to exist. Both franchises have played in the New York Metropolitan area since they were thrust into existence. That's Manhattans Madison Square Gardens since 1968 for the New York Knicks and Brooklyn’s Barclays Center for the Nets since 2012.

There was a time when a team called the Nets played in New Jersey. Before then, there was the time of the merger between the ABA and NBA in 1976 when the New York Nets played in Long Island at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Nassau. The next season, that team was renamed the New Jersey Nets when they moved to Piscataway then East Rutherford which became their home from 1981 to 2010. Despite those moves, the rivalry has been intra-city one since the Nets moved to the Brooklyn borough of New York in 2012.

What also helps build up a rivalry between two teams is how close the records are between them. While there may be a similar number of wins for each team, that does overlook how each side has dominated over the other for a spell. That also boosts a rivalry as an animosity can grow, for instance with how the Nets dominated in the 2000s.

The Doctor J Affair
It can also help a rivalry when certain off-field infringements create problems. When the NBA was having to adjust to having two New York-based teams in 1973, the Knicks demanded $4.8m from the New York Nets, who were then in Long Island. The fee was due to the possible infringement of the Knicks’ New York territory that was brought about by the ABA-NBA merger.

The Nets' owner at the time was Roy Boe who was so compelled by this expense that he went back on his word. He had intended to raise Julius Erving’s salary as one of the stars of his team. Erving then held out from training camp and was offered to the Knicks if they would drop the fee. The Knicks refused and Erving went on to enjoy a Hall of Fame career, notably leading the Philadelphia 76ers to the NBA title in 1983 while the Knicks toiled on.

The Durant/Irving Trades In 2019
If there is a rivalry of note between the two franchises, the decisions taken by two players may have stoked it up even further. Those two players were Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving who decided to sign for the Brooklyn Nets rather than the New York Knicks in 2019. The trades did look to be personal as the Nets led the series between themselves and the Knicks by as big a margin as 11-2. Your wager can change when you know the latest information, including signings, so make sure to check out FanDuel NBA news.

The Different Names For The New York Knicks vs. Brooklyn Nets Rivalry
During that spell when the Nets were playing in New Jersey before 2012, the rivalry went by a range of nicknames. From The Function At The Junction to The Turnpike Classic, The War Between The States, and The Battle Of The Hudson River.

Once the Nets moved to Brooklyn, the rivalry took on several other nicknames due to the proximity of the two franchises and the respective histories of the Manhattan and Brooklyn boroughs. More recent names for the rivalry include the Battle Of The Boroughs, The Battle Of New York, and The Clash Of The Boroughs. Alas, the two franchises have only met in the postseason playoffs just three times.

Each meeting was in the Eastern Conference's first round. In 1983, the Knicks won 2-0 and in 1994 the Knicks won again, this time 3-1. The most recent meeting of the two teams in the playoffs was in 2004 when the Nets triumphed 4-0. Strangely, based on the number of victories for either team, they are level-pegging.

Such intra-city rivalries do tend to rely on how passionate their respective fanbases are. It does help the Knicks vs. Nets rivalry when Kevin Durant is willing to dish out stick to a Knicks fan and especially when one team enjoys a dominant winning streak over the other. Though the rivalry has gone by many names both before and after the Nets’ move to Brooklyn, the Doctor J affair is a long-standing reason for the rivalry. That the Knicks were prepared to lose such an influential player due to concerns over their territory sure does have a legacy of its own, especially when he became a Hall of Famer.