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RJ Barrett Says He'll 'Try and Recruit' Zion Williamson to Knicks in the Future

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJune 25, 2019

FILE - In this March 16, 2019, file photo, Duke's RJ Barrett, left, hugs Zion Williamson after Duke defeated Florida State in the NCAA college basketball championship game of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, in Charlotte, N.C. Barrett and Williamson are both possible first round picks at the NBA Draft on Thursday, June 20.  (AP Photo/Nell Redmond, File)
Nell Redmond/Associated Press

New York Knicks rookie RJ Barrett didn't even wait until the start of the regular season to test the NBA's tampering rules. 

Appearing on ESPN New York's The Michael Kay Show (h/t SNY.tv)Barrett announced he would like to reunite with former Duke teammate Zion Williamson someday. 

"Hopefully, one day we'll be on the same team," he said. "That's my brother, I'll try and recruit him over."

The NBA has been very diligent about trying to prevent teams and players from tampering in recent years. All 30 teams received a memo about consequences of tampering from the league last December after LeBron James told reporters it would be "amazing" if the Los Angeles Lakers could acquire Anthony Davis. 

The Los Angeles Clippers were fined $50,000 for tampering in May after head coach Doc Rivers heaped praise on Kawhi Leonard during an appearance on ESPN:

NBA on ESPN @ESPNNBA

"Kawhi is the most like Jordan we've seen." Doc Rivers has some high praise for Kawhi Leonard. https://t.co/i1R2gR1VrT

There is a way for Barrett and the Knicks to argue no rule was violated if the league attempts to issue a fine. Per ESPN.com's Bobby Marks, NBA tampering rules state "no player, coach or management person may entice or induce a player under contract with another team to play for his team."

Neither Barrett nor Williamson have signed their rookie deals yet, so they aren't technically under contract. 

New Orleans Pelicans fans just had to endure a season's worth of concern about Davis wanting to be traded. The last thing they want to think about is their franchise's new superstar potentially leaving already. 

Barrett and Williamson figure to be with their current teams for at least the next four years, based on how rookie contracts in the NBA work. 

It's understandable Barrett would want to reunite with Williamson. The pair helped make Duke basketball games last season must-see events because of how well they worked off each other. 

Williamson won every major individual Player of the Year award. Barrett was a consensus first-team All-American and became the first freshman in ACC history to score at least 800 points in a season. 

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