Knicks-Nets rivalry, last trade: Why a Mikal Bridges deal seems unlikely

One trade that seems almost perfect for the New York Knicks also seems like one of the least likely to happen.

As the New York Knicks ponder over trades to upgrade their roster, trading for Brooklyn Nets guard/forward Mikal Bridges makes almost too much sense.

Bridges is the type of long, skilled wing that would bolster the Knicks on both ends of the floor. He was also college teammates with Jalen Brunson, Donte DiVincenzo, and Josh Hart, and acquiring him would only strengthen the “Nova Knicks” connection. While Bridges’ time in Brooklyn has proven he’s not a first- or second-option on offense, his shooting and secondary scoring would slot in perfectly with this Knicks roster, as would his perimeter defense.

Knicks fans have pined for such a deal, and Hart has even taken part in some sleuth tampering to lure Bridges over. However, it seems unlikely that the Knicks and Nets would ever agree to such a deal.

Knicks and Nets haven’t made a trade in over 30 years

As ESPN’s Bobby Marks — a former Nets executive himself — pointed out in February, the Knicks and Nets haven’t made a trade since 1983. That’s when the Nets traded big man Len Elmore to the Knicks for a second-round pick.

Marks said that during his 20-year tenure with the Nets, they never had trade conversations with the Knicks.

The relationship hasn’t improved

Other than being cross-town rivals, it’s unclear exactly why things have been so icy between the two franchises. But tensions have been ongoing.

ESPN analyst and former Nets star Richard Jefferson said on “The Lowe Post” podcast that the Knicks ran a campaign in 2002, the year after the Nets made the Finals, that motivated him to beat them.

See also  When are the UEFA Women’s Champions League semi finals? Dates, times of matches and when 2024 final takes place

“They came out with their slogan, ‘One team, one city, one Garden.’ That was their slogan my second year. And if you’re gonna tell me that’s not a direct f—ing shot at our team. Like, ‘Yeah, we don’t care what you’re doing, there’s only one team in this town. There’s only one New York City. There’s only one Garden.’

“While all of those things might be true, I’m supposed to sit here and watch you guys put together a campaign to go against us? You’re showing us that you’re paying attention to what we’re doing. You’re showing us. And you guys are literally coming out, doing that, and we’re not supposed to say ‘f— you’ to you guys? Alright, we’ll show you the one Garden. Every time we go to that Garden, we’re gonna put on a show. And that’s what we did.”

Indeed, from 2001-02 to 2004-05, the Nets went 13-3 against the Knicks and swept them in the first round of the 2004 playoffs.

Things seemed to heat back up at the turn of the decade, particularly between Knicks owner James Dolan and then-Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov.

In 2010, when Prokhorov bought the Nets, he said he planned to turn Knicks fans into Nets fans.

The Knicks later released a radio ad that said, “Hey Nets. You can walk like us, you can talk like us, but you ain’t never gonna be like us.”

In 2012, when the Nets moved from New Jersey to Brooklyn, they placed a billboard that read “Blueprint for Greatness” directly facing Madison Square Garden.

See also  SWAC tournament bracket: Full TV schedule, scores, results for 2024 basketball championships

The 6-foot-8 Prokhorov even referred to Dolan as “the little man” in an interview that year.

Ahead of the 2015 All-Star Weekend in New York City, former Commissioner David Stern brokered a meeting between Dolan and Prokhorov to help cool the rivalry down. Both sides downplayed the importance of the meeting and agreed to work together to host the All-Star Game.

The two teams have traded superiority

The Knicks and Nets haven’t been good at the same time since 2012, instead seemingly swapping superiority over the years.

In the summer of 2019, rumors swirled that the Knicks would land Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in free agency in a major splash. Instead, both players spurned the Knicks for the Nets, setting up a super-team in Brooklyn. Durant later commented that the Knicks weren’t “cool.”

Although the Durant-Irving era in Brooklyn didn’t end well, it was still a painful sting for Knicks fans.

Things have switched recently, however, with the Knicks’ turnaround led by Tom Thibodeau, Jalen Brunson, and Julius Randle.

In a January 2024 game, the Knicks staged a fourth-quarter comeback in Brooklyn in front of a noticeably pro-Knicks crowd that completely drowned out Nets fans. Bridges himself called it dispiriting to see Knicks fans take over the Nets’ arena.

This type of circumstance is perhaps why the Nets will never trade Bridges to the Knicks. Not only do the Nets reportedly plan to keep Bridges to lure another star to Brooklyn, but losing him to their crosstown rivals and having to see him play alongside his friends, in a Knicks uniform, four times per year might be too much to bear.

See also  College basketball conference championship odds: Finding value, possible longshot bets in Power Six races

The Knicks and Nets will make a trade again some day, but it seems unlikely to happen this summer.

Source

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *