Pro Basketball Hall of Famer and NBA analyst Charles Barkley is not afraid to speak his mind. This week, Barkley made headlines by forecasting an NBA lockout on the horizon.
“You can’t take my money and say you want to divorce me in six months to a year because you can only get the max from this team,” Barkley told reporters during NBA All-Star Weekend. “You can’t take all my money, then say, ‘Hey, I want a divorce.’ So, I’m pretty sure that’s the next thing that’s gonna come out of the CBA. I have no doubt in my mind that these guys are gonna get locked out.”
The NBA and National Basketball Players Association are heading back to the negotiating table with the current Collective Bargaining Agreement set to expire after the 2023-24 season. Both sides will look to implement new terms to benefit the league.
Barkley believes there is tension behind closed doors.
He mentioned that NBA owners aren’t too keen on players agreeing to deals and forcing their way out of the organization. He gave his opinion on recent trade requests that involved NBA superstars Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden.
The trio signed contract extensions with the Brooklyn Nets. However, they ultimately requested trades due to various issues surrounding the organization.
“These owners, you can’t take all their money and treat these owners and fans like crap,” Barkley said. “No doubt in my mind these guys are gonna get locked out, because these owners aren’t going to be standing for this.”
The last NBA lockout occurred during the 2011-12 season. The league was halted for 161 days as teams didn’t begin play until Christmas Day. During the lockout, players couldn’t visit with training staff and teams weren’t allowed to make roster decisions.
Barkley thinks the NBA’s current state will likely lead to a repeat occurrence.
“Y’all baby these dudes so much today,” Barkley said. “They don’t want to play back-to-back games. Every time a fan says something, they get them tossed. If they’re not happy, they want to get traded. It’s going to come to a head in the next CBA.”
The NBA is currently in its 76th season. There have been four lockouts in the history of the league, including the 1998-99 lockout that lasted more than six months. The season was shortened to 50 games and the 1999 NBA All-Star Game was canceled.
Source: USA Today