While the Knicks have historically “owned’’ New York, Aguirre insist that the Brooklyn Nets are on the verge of replacing the Knicks as the best team in New York.
As far as if the Lakers are still the best team in Los Angeles, Aguirre said: “That’s lost already. That’s done.
"The Clippers are the team in LA now. They’re the team.’’
Aguirre acknowledged that the Lakers have 16 NBA championships and an aging Kobe Bryant that’s returning from surgery, while the Clippers have Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and a new coach in Doc Rivers. In Aguirre’s mind, that tilts the scales in the Clippers’ favor.
“Kobe Bryant was the Lakers’ only really stronghold in LA, and I know he’ll come back extremely well,’’ said Aguirre, who won NBA titles with Detroit in 1989 and ‘90. “But I think that’s too much for any guy to come back and try to control what they have now.
“I don’t know when they’re going to get him back, but right now they don’t have it.’’
On the Knicks relinguishing ownership of New York to the Nets, Aguirre said: “If I was to look at it right now I would say that the Knicks are in trouble of controlling New York right now. The Knicks are in trouble of controlling New York.’’
Sam Perkins, who played in the NBA from 1984-2001, believes if the much older Nets can stay healthy, they will indeed overtake the Knicks as the best team in New York.
“They have a lot of veteran players, so you’re playing 82 games, plus preseason, a lot of times veterans are accountable for most of those games,’’ Perkins said. “If they're healthy they'll (take over New York).
“But if they start having injuries and the Knicks stay strong, it might be a tight race.’’
Perkins, though, wasn’t about to give ownership of Los Angeles to the Clippers.
“I’m not going to count them out, but on paper it doesn’t look good for the Lakers now because they're just trying to fill holes as much as possible and making it look respectable,’’ said Perkins, who played for the Lakers from 1990-‘93. “But the Clippers with Doc Rivers, I see them going a
Morlon Wiley, a journeyman who played with five NBA franchises, agreed with Aguirre as to who is currently the number one team in Los Angeles.
"The Clippers, I think, have taken over LA,'' Wiley said. "But at the same time they haven’t won anything.
"The Lakers still have all them banners hanging up there. And the Lakers are still the team to go watch.''
Wiley, however, wasn't bold enough to state that the new-look Nets -- featuring first-year head coach Jason Kidd -- are better than the Knicks.
"The Nets look real sexy on paper, but again you've got to go play,'' Wiley said. "You've got to put it all together.
"Again, the Nets are somebody that I'll probably circle and say I’d want to go see. But it’s going to be interesting when it does come down to putting it all together because they’ve got some older players and they've got a young coach.''
-- Dwain Price
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