Commish: Knicks-Nets rivalry 'wonderful'

Despite letting Jeremy Lin leave for Houston, David Stern still thinks the Knicks are "loaded."

"They are loaded, and that's why the Nets decided to load up," the NBA commissioner told Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco on ESPN New York 98.7 FM on Friday.

Though Thursday's Nets-Knicks regular-season opener was postponed until Nov. 26 due to Hurricane Sandy, Stern is looking forward to the budding rivalry that is going to be cultivated on the East River.

"I think the competition level is going to be wonderful for fans," Stern said, adding that the teams are going to be vying for the hearts and minds of New Yorkers. "I think it's great and it's going to propel the league to better situations."

The commissioner recalled being a New York Giants baseball fan growing up, and hating the Brooklyn Dodgers.

"Brooklyn was a foreign country to me, because it housed those horrible Dodgers," said Stern, who grew up in Teaneck, N.J.

Stern will be attending Friday night's Knicks-Heat game at refurbished Madison Square Garden. He'll head to Brooklyn for Saturday night's Nets-Raptors game at the $1 billion Barclays Center.

Stern explained the NBA's decision to cancel the Nets-Knicks game in Brooklyn, while going ahead with the Knicks-Heat game.

"The big selling point at Barclays (Center) was that we've got 11 different train lines that stop right here -- except that none of them was running, and people were in shock," Stern said, referring to the mass transportation crises in the wake of Sandy.

"The mayor, we talked to his office, and he said he (thought) in terms of all that was going on, that it would be best to do it on Saturday as (the) opening rather than Thursday, and he's the city's commander-in-chief. And it didn't take moree than his suggestion for us to say, 'OK, mayor, given the job you had and you're doing, (that's fine).'

"But when it comes to Madison Square Garden ... the restrictions on cars coming into the city are off at 5 o'clock. ... The trains have been running to MSG for a couple of days, and life in the city north of downtown, including MSG, is returning to what is the new normal, and it seemed appropriate for us to play the game, and the mayor was fine with that."

But back to that whole "Knicks are still loaded " thing ...

"I would say that they're loaded still, but Amar'e (Stoudemire) being out six to eight weeks is a real potential game-changer, and they may be loaded in different ways," Stern said. "They have a replacement for Jeremy. ... I think the pundits that know more than I do were picking them preseason to do pretty well in that conference."