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Duke in the NBA: Offseason update

Since our last update a few weeks ago, Duke alumni have been on the move, whether they were rejoining their old team, signing with a new one or being traded to a new organization.

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Gerald Henderson was the premiere Duke free agent on the market for most of the summer after JJ Redick found a home in Los Angeles relatively quickly. For much of his free agency interest in Henderson was either nonexistent or not public. After players with similar or lesser resumes signed bloated contracts—the New Orleans Pelicans handed $44 million to Tyreke Evans and the Atlanta Hawks gave $24 million to Kyle Korver—Henderson was left out in the cold. Reports surfaced that Henderson had reached and impasse with the Charlotte Bobcats and that a sign-and-trade scenario might be in Henderson's future. Finally, Henderson and the Bobcats found a middle-ground, agreeing to a three-year, $18 million contract. Yahoo Sports reported after the deal was struck that Henderson left money on the table in order to make the third year a player option, which would allow Henderson return to free agency after two years. When the dust settles on the offseason, Henderson's contract may be the most team-friendly deal of the summer after the Duke product averaged 18.9 points per game after the All-Star break.

Henderson wasn't the only marquee Blue Devil free agent who inked a deal recently. Elton Brand finally made a decision on his next home, signing on with the Atlanta Hawks. The former All-Star was considering his hometown New York Knicks and former team, the Dallas Mavericks, before putting pen to paper with the Hawks on a one-year, $4 million deal. Brand had a distinct connection with Hawks from the start of free agency. Atlanta's general manager and president of basketball operations, Danny Ferry, is a former Blue Devil himself, and both Ferry and Brand are represented by the same agent—David Falk.

The last Duke alumnus on the move was Miles Plumlee. After finishing his first season with the Indiana Pacers, Plumlee will have a new home for his sophomore season. Plumlee was traded along with Gerald Green and a first round pick to the Phoenix Suns for forward Luis Scola. Although Plumlee didn't get a lot of playing time as a rookie, it appears he was no throw-in for the Suns.

With Phoenix rebuilding, Plumlee may see an increase in playing time in his new home. Though the Suns already have Marcin Gortat, former Maryland center Alex Len, and both Marcus and Markieff Morris, developing a young, athletic big like Plumlee could be a priority for Phoenix.

In addition to Henderson, Brand and Plumlee, there are other Blue Devils who could be in the news cycle before the summer comes to a close. Corey Maggette briefly considered retirement this summer to pursue a career in an NBA front office, but ultimately decided to try to continue his playing career and sign a minimum contract with a contender for the 2013 season before making his foray into management.

Nolan Smith is still recovering from the injury he suffered in summer league, but he is confident about his future in the NBA. He recently spoke to HOOPSWORLD's Alex Kennedy about his upcoming season.

Though interest hasn't been abundant yet, veterans Chris Duhon and Dahntay Jones are both possibilities for NBA rosters before training camps open up. Lance Thomas will be fighting for a spot on a roster after a successful run with the Pelicans in the Las Vegas Summer League.


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