Charles Barkley isn’t afraid to speak his mind about the NBA and its quality of play. A good example of this is in 2017, when the Basketball Hall of Fame inductee and TNT commentator all but abandoned the NBA playoffs and openly rooted for people to turn their attention toward an epic NHL postseason and Stanley Cup Final.
This spring, the NBA has had a bit of its own bit of history, with the Toronto Raptors in the Finals for the first time in franchise history and on the bring of a title. And Barkley has a different complaint this time around: Everyone in the basketball world is too busy worrying about free agency to actually enjoy the Finals.
Barkley spoke to 95.7 The Fan in the Bay Area and lamented the fact that people are so worried about what Kevin Durant will do on June 30 that they’re not even concerned about Golden State extending their modern dynasty with another run to the NBA Finals.
Part of the problem is that some of prominent players involved in the Finals this year are potential free agents who can significantly alter the future of the NBA and shift the balance of power among teams in a major way. Durant, for example, is a top-5 player in the league and immediately makes a franchise viable, while the impact Kawhi Leonard has made in Toronto is nothing short of franchise-altering.
And it’s because of that importance that the potential landing spots for those big free agents is so intriguing. But Barkley is right to lament it taking away from what’s been a fascinating postseason and an important, potentially historic NBA Finals. If the basketball were boring, and this were just another Golden State layup on the way to another title, the talk about everything off the court would be more enticing. Instead, it’s diminishing what’s been an exciting postseason, one that could be over as soon as Monday night.