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Thursday, April 12, 2012
Barkley 'leery' of Nets getting No. 1 pick

By Mike Mazzeo

Charles Barkley says he’s a conspiracy theorist, and would be “leery” if the New Jersey/soon-to-be Brooklyn Nets end up winning the lottery and drafting Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis No. 1 overall.

“You know, I’m going to be very leery because I know the NBA has a lot riding on that new arena [$1 billion Barclays Center], especially if Deron Williams leaves New Jersey,” Barkley told ESPN Chicago 1000’s “Waddle and Silvy” on Wednesday.

“They didn’t get Dwight Howard. I’m going to be very leery if New Jersey gets the No. 1 pick.”

Barkley says his days of being a conspiracy theorist go back to Patrick Ewing.

The Georgetown center was selected No. 1 overall by the New York Knicks after they won the NBA’s first-ever draft lottery in 1985.

Some believe that draft was rigged so the New York market could get itself a superstar.

Now, nearly three decades later, the Nets will be moving to Brooklyn prior to the start of the 2012-13 season. They’re currently the seventh-worst team in the league, and, if the season ended Thursday, would only have a 4.3 percent chance to land the No. 1 pick.

The Nets traded their 2012 first-round pick to Portland for forward Gerald Wallace, but put a top-3 protection on it.

Fresh off a National Championship with the Wildcats, Davis, the Naismith College Player of the Year, is considered to be the best player in the draft.

Williams is expected to opt out and become a free agent. The Nets can offer him more money than any other team, but the Dallas Mavericks are also expected to pursue the All-Star point guard in the summer.

The Nets are confident they can sign Williams, but if he leaves them for nothing, they’d be in a world of hurt heading into Brooklyn.

On the other hand, landing Davis to go along with restricted free agent center Brook Lopez, Wallace (if he opts in) and rookie MarShon Brooks, would certainly help the Nets in their quest to convince Williams to stay.