Charles Barkley wouldn’t really be interested in running an NBA team … would he?
It just so happens that there’s an opening for a general manager in Phoenix, where Barkley lives and where there’s a needy team for which he has a great deal of affection.
“That’s my hometown team,” Barkley told azcentral.com in February. “I live in Phoenix. I watch the Suns religiously. And I’m very disappointed in their direction.
“They’re not competitive. Even the really bad teams like Cleveland and Sacramento have players to build around. The Suns? Their best players are Goran Dragic and Marcin Gortat.”
His feelings for the Suns are more than mere observations from an NBA pundit on TNT. But is GM the right spot for him? Or is he angling for some other position? After Suns President Lon Babby said he thought that being the team’s GM would require heavy “rowing,” Barkley scoffed at that in an interview with Brad Cesmat on “Big Guy on Sports” on XTRA Sports 910-AM (via azcentral.com).
“Trust me, the people who have been rowing the boat, they’ve been rowing the Titanic, just for the record. The Suns are the Titanic,” he said. “So the notion that I can’t do better than them is ridiculous. The Suns stink. So whoever has been rowing the boat has just done a horrific job so let’s just get that straight and out of the way. I made it perfectly clear that I’m going to be a GM. The Suns know my number. They know that I want to be a GM. I’ve had a couple opportunities that wasn’t very good. I mean I’m not going to give up a great job unless I get what I want. I’m in the driver’s seat. I don’t need their job. I want to be a GM. But the notion that I can’t do better than what they’re doing is ridiculous. Brad, just for the record, you could probably do a better job.”
Barkley went on to say that the Suns don’t have players — and that he’s ideally suited to pick them because all he does is watch basketball.
“Actually being on television, that’s actually my job. All I do is watch NBA basketball. Now all I do is watch college basketball because of doing the March Madness. But my job on television is to evaluate every team and talk about it. That’s actually what a GM does. All he does is look at players and evaluate teams. Am I a general manager? No. But the notion that I don’t sit around and watch every basketball game or study every team, that’s absurd.”
Imagine the fun. Then take a deep breath and remember how unlikely it is that he’ll wind up running the Suns. As Paul Coro notes at azcentral.com he does talk “about becoming a GM like he once spoke of becoming Alabama governor.”
3 probs: Barkley makes big TV $$$ (Sarver = cheap); Barkley is Turner’s most valuable asset by far (sorry Conan); and NBA loves Barkley.
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) April 25, 2013
Last point is crucial: Barkley is a big asset/ambassador for NBA, they don’t want him wasting 4 yrs w/ a lousy owner in a no-win situation. — Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) April 25, 2013
Semi-related: if you made a list of owners that Stern + Silver would love to get rid of, Sarver would be first. Yes, ahead of Sterling. — Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) April 25, 2013
@billsimmons Barkley makes more than average GM, works 95% less, has 1/1,000th the stress, 10x the exposure. Other than workload, so do you
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) April 25, 2013