J.R. Smith: Paul Pierce 'bitter'

NEW YORK -- Paul Pierce has sparked a war of words between the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks.

Earlier this month, Pierce said that he believed that the Nets would eventually own New York.

J.R. Smith is the latest Knick to take umbrage to Pierce's comments.

"I just look at him as a bitter person just getting out of Boston. He doesn't really know what New York is all about. He's been playing in Boston his whole career," Smith told ESPN New York on Saturday.

Smith, speaking without anger in his voice, added: "He just knows, just know that his words have consequences and he's going to have to pay for them."

Pierce, an ex-Celtic, said earlier this month that his hatred for the Knicks "has grown a little" since he joined the Nets in July following a blockbuster trade.

"Everybody knows how much I disliked the Knicks when I was with the Celtics, but I think it's grown to another level," Pierce said on ESPN NewYork 98.7 FM's "The Michael Kay Show." "I think it's time for the Nets to start running this city."

In an interview with Complex Magazine, Pierce added that he believed the Nets will eventually be the most popular team in New York.

"Oh yeah. Right now it might be like 70-30 but we're gonna push that the other way," Pierce told the magazine.

On Saturday, Smith said Pierce's comments don't necessarily rub him the wrong way, but he disagrees strongly with the idea that the Nets will eventually take over New York.

"They're in one borough, we're all over. So it's like, you're on an island and we've got the whole country. So it's nothing really to even talk about," Smith said at a PGA Foundation golf clinic at Chelsea Piers for the New York/New Jersey Boys & Girls Club.

Earlier this month, Knicks point guard Ray Felton also shot back at Pierce.

"They will never take over the city. Because we've got 'New York' on our chest," Felton said. "They've got 'Brooklyn' on their chest, and we've got 'New York.' They'll never take over the city.

"[Pierce] saying that is just him talking. At the end of the day, it's all about rivalries. We understand that -- he knows that, I know that. He's just trying to fuel it."

Felton said Pierce's headline-grabbing predictions are good for the Knicks-Nets rivalry, but he doesn't believe them to be malicious.

"He's just trying to talk, talk, talk, to fuel the rivalry, which is good. I love it," said Felton, who laughed when asked about Pierce's comments. "I think it's good for us, it's good for the whole state, it's good. So, whatever -- I love it."

The Nets and Knicks both made upgrades in the offseason. Brooklyn grabbed headlines trading for Celtics stalwarts Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Brooklyn also signed free-agent Andrei Kirilenko and hired ex-Knick Jason Kidd as its head coach.

The Knicks acquired Andrea Bargnani in a trade with Toronto and signed Metta World Peace and Beno Udrih.

The Knicks and Nets will play four times in the regular season, including twice in April. The first Knicks-Nets game is Dec. 5 at the Barclays Center.

Smith should be back on the court for that first Knicks-Nets meeting, but he may not be ready for the season-opener as he recovers from offseason knee surgery.