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On NBA free agency, Charles Barkley says playing in New York is 'not for everybody'

Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant looks up as

Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant looks up as the team huddles during a timeout against the 76ers on March 2, 2019, in Philadelphia. Photo Credit: AP/Matt Slocum

Like everyone who follows the NBA, Charles Barkley is intrigued by an upcoming free agency period in which both New York and both Los Angeles teams could be major players.

But the Turner analyst on Tuesday warned that not every team and its fans will win the game of musical chairs – and expressed skepticism that two of the biggest prizes would be a good fit for the Knicks spotlight anyway.

“I think they understand there’s a pressure in playing in New York, but it’s not for everybody,” he said when asked broadly whether free agents will be attracted to or repelled by the Knicks’ situation.

Asked specifically about the Warriors’ Kevin Durant, Barkley said, “I’m not sure Durant and Kyrie [Irving] have the mentality to play in New York.”

Barkley wondered whether they can handle the media attention and scrutiny that comes with the job, given some prickly encounters they have had this season in Oakland and Boston.

“It’s going to be crazy this summer,” Barkley said at a breakfast in Manhattan to promote CBS/Turner’s coverage of the NCAA Tournament. “If I had a dollar for every time somebody has asked me where Kyrie, Kevin and Kawhi [Leonard] are going, I’d be a billionaire. I have no clue.

“But I will tell you this: It’s going to be great for somebody and crappy for somebody else. There are not enough [elite players] to go around, but there are enough crappy players to go around. So what I think is going to happen is some team’s going to get lucky and some team’s going to have to spend the money and they’re going to pay good [but not great] players max dollars to have a solid team. It’s going to ruin their franchise for the next 10 years.”

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