Not much Duke news in free agency yet, but Knicks loyalist RJ Barrett caught a break:
Jalen Brunson signed with the Knicks Thursday, which means New York has a strong backcourt to build around now.
Brunson will pair with former Duke star Barrett and since both are young - Brunson is 25 and Barrett just 22 - they could spend a decade or so together. It looks like a great situation for Barrett, who is emerging as New York’s brightest star.
Julius Randle is not a long-term big answer but he’s not bad. That’s their new Big Three. They’ll need more, but it’s a start.
However, it could work out better than Brooklyn’s (former) Big Three has. Or will.
James Harding wanted out and was traded in February. After former Duke star Kyrie Irving realized that his options were basically gone, he re-upped with Brooklyn, perhaps assuming he’d be together with Kevin Durant.
But now KD wants out, preferably in a trade to Phoenix apparently, which puts Kyrie in a less-than-ideal situation. His best teammate, after KD is gone, will be Ben Simmons, who hasn’t played in a good while for various alleged reasons. The trade will bring in assets but some of it may come in the form of draft picks, which won’t help Irving, who is 30 now and who has long been injury prone.
Brooklyn’s title dreams are almost certainly over but Durant’s request to be moved may make it more difficult for Irving to engineer his own trade later, as is widely expected.
Or maybe Brooklyn just throws in the towel and starts over from scratch. Seems like it might not be the worst idea.