The same season Redick moved west the Chicago Bulls became the second NBA team to have three Blue Devils. Forwards Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng had been teammates in Chicago for three seasons prior to that.
The Bulls picked Deng seventh in the 2004 draft and he quickly became a franchise mainstay, averaging around 16 ppg for his decade there. He made two all-star games while playing in Chicago.
Boozer came from Utah in a trade for the 2010-’11 season. He averaged 17.5 ppg and 9.6 rpg as Chicago earned the top seed in the east for that season at 62-20. The Bulls made it to the 2011 east finals but lost to LeBron James and Miami in five games.
Boozer’s Duke classmate Mike Dunleavy joined Deng and Boozer for the 2013-’14 season.
This was the fourth of sixth stops in Dunleavy’s 16-year NBA career.
This was supposed to have been a championship season for Chicago. But point guard Derrick Rose missed most of the season with a knee injury. Chicago traded Deng to Cleveland on January 7 even though he was averaging a career-best 19.0 ppg. Boozer averaged 13.7 ppg, Dunleavy 11.3.
So, the three-Blue-Devils adventure lasted barely two months.
The Bulls finished 48-34 and lost to Washington in the first round of the playoffs.
The Portland Trail Blazers are next. They acquired Rodney Hood from Cleveland on February 4, 2019, where he joined former Duke players Seth Curry and Gary Trent. Trent spent much of his rookie year on the bench or in the G-League. But he did score 40 points in 15 games. Curry averaged 7.9 ppg, Hood 9.6 in 27 games for Portland.
However, Curry signed with Dallas as a free agent for the 2019-’20 season, again breaking up a Duke trio after a short span.
That brings us to the Boston Celtics. For the last two seasons the Celtics have featured Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum. Less featured was reserve forward Semi Ojeleye. He began his career at Duke but played the bulk of it at SMU. Traditionally pro players in any sport who transfer are considered to be products of their final school. Ojeleye’s NBA.com page lists SMU as his school and Duke does not claim him.
So, I won’t either.
There’s a new entrant in the three-former-Blue-Devils club. The Memphis Grizzlies acquired Miles Plumlee and Grayson Allen this off-season by trades and signed free-agent guard Tyus Jones.
This is Plumlee’s fifth stop in the NBA and injuries kept him on the sideline for all but 18 games last season. So, his spot might be tenuous.
But with Duke churning out two, three, four new NBA products every since, three may become the new normal. But five? Well, that is still an attention grabber.