The New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets first face each other in the second game of the regular season Oct. 25 at Barclays Center, and the intrigue has already begun with off-court comments from both sides.
After Kevin Durant said that "the cool thing right now is not the Knicks," Julius Randle, among others, had a response for reporters Wednesday when asked about the new Nets star's thoughts from Tuesday on Hot97 FM's Ebro in the Morning Show.
"S--t, I feel cool in blue and orange," Randle told reporters. "I don't know about everybody else but I feel pretty cool wearing my Knicks gear every day. It's a dream come true for me. Everybody has their own opinion."
"I feel pretty cool wearing my Knicks gear every day, man...for sure I'm gonna feel cool walking into that Garden knowing that's my home court" - @J30_RANDLE- Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) October 9, 2019
(via @nyknicks) pic.twitter.com/OkXHjhrEZU
Randle added that the take from Durant was not interpreted as a jab at the Knicks, but rather a personal opinion.
Over the summer, Durant chose to sign with the Nets in July on a four-year contract worth $164 million.
The same month, several days later, Randle inked a three-year deal worth $63 million with the Knicks.
"I know K," Randle said of Durant. "I don't think he meant it as a slight, honestly. I feel pretty cool as a Knick, walking into this practice facility. For sure I'm gonna feel cool walking into that Garden Friday knowing that it's my home court."
Second-year head coach David Fizdale dropped a one-liner.
"All I know is every day somebody outside our organization is talking about us, and I'm flattered," Fizdale said, according to Chris Iseman of NorthJersey.com.
Taj Gibson, a Brooklyn native who was raised on the Knicks and signed a two-year deal worth $20 million, shrugged it off.
"I'm just focused on what we have to do in this practice arena and our locker room, just try to get better and try to move forward," Gibson said, according to Iseman. "We really haven't been focused on what's going on on the outside."
While the Nets signed Durant and Kyrie Irving among their offseason haul -- which included DeAndre Jordan, who spent the second half of the 2018-19 season across the East River -- the Knicks added Randle and Gibson with veterans like Reggie Bullock and Marcus Morris as they retooled on the fly.
"I like the guys that wanted to be here," Fizdale said, according to Iseman. "We got seven guys that really wanted to be a part of the Knicks and that's what I'm focused on."
After the second game of the 2019-20 campaign puts the Knicks against the Nets for the new-look teams early, the two sides additionally play Nov. 24 and Jan. 26 at Madison Square Garden, with Barclays Center's Dec. 26 matchup sandwiched in between.
"I think a lot of fans look at the Knicks as a brand and expect these younger players who, in their lifetime, don't remember the Knicks being good. I didn't grow up with the Knicks," Durant said. "I've seen the Knicks in the Finals, but kids coming up after me didn't see that. So that whole brand of the Knicks to them is not as cool as, let's say, the Golden State Warriors or even the Lakers or the Nets now."