Newly acquired Nets forward Paul Pierce and Knicks guard J.R. Smith are already trash-talking ahead of the start of the season. (Brian Babineau/Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets forward Paul Pierce added more fuel to the burgeoning Knicks-Nets rivalry by refusing to acknowledge New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith's charge that Pierce was "bitter."
"Who? Who?" Pierce said Thursday when asked about Smith's comments, according to ESPN.com.
Asked again, Pierce said, "Who? Exactly. Who? Who are we talking about right now? Exactly. Who are we talking about? We are talking about nothing."
Earlier this month, Smith called Pierce "bitter," a response to Pierce saying it was "time for the Nets to start running this city" earlier in the summer after he was traded to Brooklyn from the Boston Celtics. Pierce came over to Brooklyn this summer from Boston along with stars Jason Terry and Kevin Garnett.
"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 earlier this month of Pierce.
The Knicks and Nets play each other four times during the regular season, but the first meeting doesn't come until Dec. 5.
Both teams made splashes in the offseason. In addition to their big trade with the Celtics, the Nets also signed free-agent Andrei Kirilenko and hired ex-Knick Jason Kidd as the team's head coach.
The Knicks, meanwhile, traded for the Toronto Raptors' Andrea Bargnani, and they signed Metta World Peace and Beno Udrih.