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Who owns New York? Well, Duh!


The back pages (front too!) on New York’s tabloids said it all.

The Daily News...

The Post...

Or as new Net Taurean Prince, acquired for Allen Crabbe, tweeted...

The Nets not only got two of the top ten players in the NBA and one of the league’s top rebounders — all three for four years. They got Aretha Franklin’s key ingredient, R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Now the question is, has the Nets success — and Knicks failure— on Sunday changed New Yorkers’ minds.

Yes, this has happened before, in the Jason Kidd era. And the Knicks have a long history of failure and mismanagement their fans love to ignore. They had the most losses last season and have the most over the last five years (tied with the Lakers) and the most this century. Still, their fanbase has stayed loyal, for the most part. They sell out virtually every night, get great ratings on MSG, their own network.

But this time seems different because of hype like this from last season...

This was the dream scenario, the overall No. 1 pick in the Draft secured through tanking, and two superstars lured by city and Garden whose deals would fit neatly into cap space opened by the trade of their former franchise player.

James Dolan virtually guaranteed success as Zach Lowe wrote Sunday...

Their buffoonish owner, James Dolan, took the unusual and bombastic step of boasting during a radio interview in the middle of the season about how the Knicks would “have a very successful offseason when it comes to free agents” -- how players and their representatives had told them so.

The hype and the hope started to disappear in May when they fell to No. 3 in the Draft. No Zion. Then, spurred on by a largely unskeptical media. fan focus turned to free agency and the near-certainty, according to some (we see you, Stephen A.), that the New Yorkers would come up with some combination of Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving.

They didn’t get meetings with any of them.

But what may finally drive Knick fans around the bend was the report by Ramona Shelburne that James Dolan, supposedly fearful of KD’s injury, had declined to even offer the max to arguably the best player in the NBA! Laughter erupted on the ESPN Free Agent Special set.

Stephen A went ballistic for five whole minutes. A classic of the genre. Stephen A didn’t just talk about how the Knicks had failed but about how their targets had wound up “20 minutes away” in Brooklyn.

To make matters worse, the Knicks president, Steve Mills put out a press release that was universally derided.

“While we understand that some Knicks fans could be disappointed with tonight’s news, we continue to be upbeat and confident in our plans to rebuild the Knicks to compete for championships in the future, through the draft, targeted free agents and continuing to build around our core of young players.”

Then, Mills and Scott Perry went out and gave out big, if short-term, contracts to second level free agents like Julius Randle, Bobby Portis and Wayne Ellington. There were calls for Dolan to sell the team. Then on Monday morning came the inevitable discussion, what does it mean for New York’s two franchises? Richard Jefferson fully enjoyed it.

Even before the weekend began, the Knicks development program was roundly criticized by Coach David Thorpe on True Hoop. He lamented in particular how they failed last year’s lottery pick, Kevin Knox.

There was something else out there as well, exemplified by Spencer Dinwiddie’s tweets, a belief bordering on arrogance. Very un-Nets like.

Next thing to look for: celebrity defections. Some star of the MSG courtside set taking to Twitter or the airwaves to pound the Dolan-led management and professing loyalty to the Nets.

That may still not change things, but if the Nets go on an early run next October and the Knicks look like they’re bound for the lottery, there will be a new round of buzz that the Nets are the city’s team, the smart team, the innovative team and worthy of support.

Knicks fans, of course, will point to attendance figures — from last year. Even before the signings were announced, Nets season ticket sales were higher than at similar points in the Nets Brooklyn history. There’s a reason Brett Yormark brought his ticket sellers in for weekend duty, a reason why a call to the Nets office was answered Sunday with a recording that started, “Due to heavy call volume...”

Bottom line is simple: the Nets are in a good place, the Knicks in a bad place. If New York fans remain loyal, keep believing the line from 2 Penn Plaza, so be it. A sense of entitlement dies hard.