Charles Barkley has seen and heard enough from today’s NBA superstars.
The Hall of Famer ripped New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis, the Los Angeles Lakers, agents and really the general culture of the entire NBA world during a segment on Thursday night’s “Inside the NBA.”
After discussing the New York Knicks-Dallas Mavericks trade centered around Kristaps Porzingis, the conversation shifted to Davis, whose trade request dominated basketball headlines all week. Barkley, who said more than a month ago he already believed the fix was in to get Davis to the Lakers, went off Thursday night, saying he believes NBA commissioner Adam Silver should step in and veto any trade that would send Davis to LA.
“Adam Silver needs to block that trade. I don’t like what the Lakers are doing. I don’t think it’s right with collusion. You know it’s collusion,” Barkley asserted.
Of course, that sort of veto power doesn’t actually exist, as long as the teams aren’t breaking any league rules. There’s nothing Silver nor the NBA could do if the two teams agreed on a trade within the league’s rules.
Regardless, Barkley’s latest diatribe is unlikely to go over well with Rich Paul, the agent for both Davis and LeBron James. Barkley accused Paul and other agents of fixing the league and said he caught flak from Paul after his first rant about Davis and the Lakers.
“That was before all these rumors started, and he didn’t like me saying the fix was in,” Barkley said. “The fix has been in. I think Commissioner (Silver), who I like a lot, needs to come out and say ‘Hey, we can trade Anthony Davis, but he cannot go to the Lakers.’ We cannot have players and agents colluding to stack super teams. Adam Silver needs to say … we can’t have players dictating who can play together.”
After facing some pushback from both Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith on set, Barkley unsurprisingly stuck to his guns.
“The agents, they’re stacking the teams. That ain’t right,” he reasoned. ” … They’ve never stacked their teams like they’re doing now.”
After Shaq quipped, “That’s business,” Barkley went after Davis.
“(Davis) says, ‘I’m only going to the Lakers, and if ya’ll trade me to another team, I’m leaving after next year.’ That is 100 percent collusion. … It’s tampering.”
Finally, as the segment ended, Barkley summed it all up with an old-school take about the state of the NBA.
“C’mon man,” he said off camera. “We ain’t gonna play anymore. This stuff is getting ridiculous. If we’re not gonna compete in basketball, we’re just gonna have one or two super teams, just let me know. Come on, man. Give me a break.”
Barkley’s frustration is understandable and almost certainly is a feeling shared by a sizable pocket of NBA fans. But if Davis gets to free agency, which he’s earned, and ends up signing with the Lakers, that’s his call. Until then, there’s not a whole lot the Lakers or James or Davis can do to speed up the process if the Pelicans aren’t willing to make that trade or if another team (perhaps the Boston Celtics) is willing to make a trade for what might not be more than one season.
In the end, whether it’s next week, this summer or next summer, it’s likely Davis will get his way. That’s just the nature of the beast in the modern NBA.
Thumbnail photo via Jesse Johnson/USA TODAY Sports Images