Nets, Knicks and the New York need for instant gratification

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

As the smoke clears from the two big deals of the last week --the Nets deal for Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry and the Knicks deal for Andrea Bargnani-- pundits are examining who owns New York (other than Masai Ujiri, of course.)

Ian O'Connor of ESPN, Chris Herring of Wall Street Journal, Howard Beck of the Times, Matt Moore of CBS Sports and Will Leitch now of Sports on Earth all think the Knicks move was, if not desperation, a big risk. Leitch criticizes both teams for short-term thinking, which is endemic to New York sports teams.

O'Connor, in fact, suggests that the Knicks are facing a crossroads this season, that if they fail, they could lose Carmelo Anthony, who has a player option in July. With J.R. Smith, Chris Copeland and Pablo Prigioni uncertain to return, the Knicks could be hurting ... and losing ground to the Knicks.

"I think the Knicks are in quicksand now," said one longtime NBA dealmaker who has done business with them. "They're not going to win 54 games again with this group, and they're probably a 5-seed in the East. Brooklyn has definitely passed them by."

Chris Herring basically agrees and suggests that the Knicks' biggest advantage --its ability to space the floor to give Melo room to manuever-- is being lost in the off-season ... and at the same time, the Nets are creating a team that can do that and more.

"Questions remain," writes Herring. "But so far, the Nets have assured the Knicks will have a challenge on their hands. And they have done so by following the Knicks' own blueprint."

Leitch offers a different take, essentially saying a curse on both their houses, that by giving away their picks, the two teams have made huge gambles that money alone won't permit them to cover. The New York sports mindset, he writes, has crippled more than one franchise.

"If your team is not competing for a championship that very year, obviously your franchise is a failure and unworthy to wear the words "New York" on the front of your jersey/uniform/sweater/hot pants," offers Leitch.

As for Beck, New York mindset aside, there is a perceptible shift in the teams' fortunes.

"The initial burst of transactions, starting on draft night and continuing into the start of free agency on Monday, suggest a shift in New York’s basketball power structure, with the Nets rising and the Knicks wobbling," he writes.

(A number of the writers suggested a Kyle Korver signing is close. It isn't, say league sources, and the high prices agreed to on the first two days of free agency are not helping the Nets' competitive position.)

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