Charles Barkley (right), with Ernie Johnson Jr. (left) and Kenny Smith. (Eric S. Lesser / AP)

Barkley, who has said he expects the entire season to be canceled, would be putting an awful lot of money where his mouth is.

“I haven't told anybody, but I'm actually — believe it or not — I'm leaning toward donating it to charity. I don't think it's cool for me to take money I haven't earned,” he said on “The Waddle & Silvy Show” on Chicago’s ESPN 1000 on Tuesday (via ESPN). “My decision is either going to be defer it or give it to charity. The problem I have is if these guys hold out all season, it's going to be a lot of money. That's why I have to make that decision. I haven't made the final decision. I don't feel comfortable taking money for not working. I'll either defer it or give it to charity.”

Barkley expressed sympathy for the people who aren’t being paid millions to play basketball. “There are two groups I feel bad for. I feel bad for the people who work for these teams, because they're going to start laying off some of these people soon,” he said. “And then I feel bad for the people who work at these arenas. They're going to take the brunt of this. And that's unfortunate.”

Barkley said he wasn’t choosing sides in the labor impasse. “We've been in a recession for basically three years,” he said. “I think it's disingenuous to think all these owners, with as much money as they've been paying, haven't been losing some money. I don't know the answer to [whether they've lost as much as they claim].

“But we have been in a recession. The only thing that hasn't gone down are players' salaries, and players' salaries are going to continue to go up. So I think that is a legitimate concern. I think everybody who owns a business has been struggling somewhat financially the last three years.”