One of the newest Knicks, Jason Kidd, talks with media....

One of the newest Knicks, Jason Kidd, talks with media. (July 12, 2012) Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

It is not quite to the point where you could call the Nets' new home in Brooklyn the "Barkley's Center," but Hall of Famer and uninhibited TV analyst Charles Barkley is upbeat about the team that will soon begin a new chapter in the Barclays Center.

"I like their team. I like their team a lot. I think they probably have got the best team in New York," Barkley said at Bill Russell's Mentor's Champions Golf Challenge Monday morning at Friar's Head in Riverhead.

When he was reminded that the Knicks made some moves, too, Barkley rhetorically asked who they got. Marcus Camby, he was reminded. "I like Marcus Camby," he said. Then someone mentioned, "Jason Kidd," and Barkley said, deadpan, "What year is this?"

Then he yelled over to Celtic great Sam Jones, who was warming up on the driving range, and mentioned that reporters were asking about the Knicks signing Camby and Kidd, then said of the Knicks, loudly, "They must think it's 1995.

"It's 2012," Barkley said. "They went out and got 92-year-old Jason Kidd and 92-year-old Marcus Camby."

Barkley was deeply respectful when speaking of Russell, who was too ill to attend the tournament, adding that he was honored and obligated to attend the fundraiser for the mentoring program. He noted that Russell didn't ask if Barkley could make it, but simply left a message saying when and where the golf outing was going to be held and assuming Barkley would attend. He did, as did Jim Brown, Julius Erving, Reggie Jackson, Rick Barry, Artis Gilmore and many other stars.

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