Charles Barkley ‘Covered My Ass’ By Making Sure He Could Be A Free Agent If Turner Lost NBA Television Rights

The race is on to get involved in the NBA’s next media rights deal. In recent days, a report indicated that Turner could end up losing its place to NBC, which apparently has plans to make a monster bid to bring the league back to its airwaves.

There are a ton of balls in the air right now, so we’ll have to wait before we get clarity on where the league will air its games going forward. But if Turner loses its seat at the table, that would immediately spark questions about the future of the greatest studio television show of all time, Inside the NBA.

We fortunately did get one bit of good news on this front on Wednesday, when Charles Barkley went onto ESPN Cleveland’s The Really Big Show. Apparently, Barkley made it a point to make sure he could leave Turner in the event this very thing happened when he signed his most recent contract extension with the network.

“It’s a really big deal, obviously,” Barkley said. “But, you know, I covered my ass, to be honest with you … I just signed a 10-year deal two years ago, but one of the things that I did, I put an opt out after a couple years cause I wanted to make sure I covered my ass when it comes to this situation, if I wanted to go to Amazon or another — we thought it was gonna be Apple, to be honest with you.

“So, the one thing I did in my new contract, I’m two years into a 10-year deal,” Barkley continued. “And when I sit down, I said, ‘Wait a minute, now, if you guys lose the NBA, I wanna make sure that I can get out of here.’ So I am actually in a really great position.”

Barkley went on to explain that the team knew Amazon and Apple would get in on the race for TV rights, but they did not foresee that “NBC was gonna come out the woodwork.”

“I love TNT, they’ve been great to me, but if they lose the NBA, I wanted to make sure I had my I’s dotted and T’s crossed,” Barkley continued. “Something’s gonna happen, I hope that TNT, like I said, they’ve been great to me … I wanted to make sure if we lost the NBA in two years, I could be a free agent.”

When asked if he was open to joining whatever network ends up getting television rights, Barkley emphatically said, “hell yeah!” This is terrific news for everyone who loves watching Chuck do what he does on television, which is most people who are not from Galveston.

(h/t Awful Announcing)