With the current era of the NBA built on All-Stars joining forces to form super teams, the approach has come under criticism. Particularly with former players from the 1980s and ’90s, and Charles Barkley has arguably been among the most vocal.
Barkley has also been a critic of the Los Angeles Lakers, most recently in matters pertaining to the team’s approach with LeBron James leading the roster. Though, Barkley gained favor with some of the fan base by recently championing for Kobe Bryant’s among the NBA’s all-time greatest players.
However, the Lakers have again landed firmly in Barkley’s scope, this time because of the Anthony Davis trade saga with the New Orleans Pelicans.
During TNT’s “NBA Tip-Off” pregame show, Barkley accused Davis, agent Rich Paul, and the Lakers of collusion and tampering, and said NBA commissioner Adam Silver should veto a potential trade:
“Let me say this, Adam Silver needs to block that trade. I don’t like what the Lakers are doing. I don’t think it’s right. Collusion, and you know it’s collusion.
“Listen, let me tell you something. Rich Paul got mad at me because a month ago, I said, ‘Oh the fix is in. Anthony Davis is going to the Lakers.’ This was before all these rumors started. He didn’t like me saying the fix was in. 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 agents and players colluding to stack super teams. … We can’t have players dictating who’s going to play together.
“Then he said, ‘I’m only going to the Lakers. And if y’all trade me to another team, I’m leaving after next year.’ That is 100 percent collusion. … It’s tampering.”
The NBA launched an investigation in the wake of Davis demanding a trade, and ultimately fined him $50,000 for doing so on the record and publicly. It’s unclear if their inquiry involved the Lakers in any capacity.
In their statement to address the saga, the Pelicans did implore the NBA to strictly enforce tampering policies.
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