While the Heat upgraded, adding veterans Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, the Knicks signed a few of their own in the offseason. And if things go well, the Heat and Knicks could meet in the second round or even conference finals next spring.
All-Star Dwyane Wade told ESPNNewYork.com early Thursday morning in Beijing, where the Heat are playing a preseason game against the Clippers, that the Knicks-Heat rivalry this season will be competitive.
"Oh, man. It's going to be exciting to see," he said. "The Knicks are trying to build a team that they feel that can compete for a championship, and we have as well. It's going to be the first matchup of many, and it's going to be fun."
Wade joked that one of worst parts about the rivalry is that Mike Bibby won't be a Knick. During the first round of the playoffs last season, in which the Heat won 4-1, Wade stepped on one of Bibby's sneakers, removing it in the process. He then threw it to the Heat bench, while telling him he should be wearing his instead.
"[laughs] I had a little fun with Mike with the shoe thing," he said.
The Knicks first face the Heat on Nov. 2 at the Garden, one night after they take on the Nets in the brand new Barclays Center. Many of the Knicks know the Heat is the team to beat, but they feel they're right there, such as Rasheed Wallace. They just need to avoid getting hurt.
"Granted, I think the only thing that held this team back last year really was injuries," he said. "I don't think at any point you had the whole team healthy, except probably in the beginning. Right now, everybody's good, everybody's on the same page, everybody's healthy [Wallace knocks on the hardwood], so we've just got to keep it how it is."
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