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Home / Sports / Charles Barkley on LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Summer Storylines

Charles Barkley on LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Summer Storylines

TNT's "Inside the NBA" is in the summer break, but do not be afraid: Charles Barkley is in the midst of the season, ready to share his cutting analysis with LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and the other biggest newsmakers of the off-season work out. The outspoken commentator and Hall of Fame player who visited his hometown of Alabama last week maintained his deepest skepticism about the NBA's biggest goals: James and his new Lakers.

[James] would remain in Cleveland, "Barkley said in a Friday telephone interview with The Crossover." I consider [the move to L.A.] strictly a business decision. He is the disadvantage of his career. He wants to be a big Hollywood mogul. He will drive on the beach every day instead of going through the snow. … [The Lakers] are not even close to a top team. They are at best a 5 or 6 seed.

Following the landing of James, their top target on a $ 1

54 million four-year contract, Lakers President Magic Johnson and GM Rob Pelinka had to abandon their plans when they redesigned James's supporting role, Paul George , long rumored to be interested in the Lakers, quickly signed back to the thunder Leonard, unhappy in San Antonio, was also rumored to be traded in Los Angeles before he was eventually brought to Toronto.

No other Tent stars were available, the Lakers decided to sign a series of war veterans for an annual lease: Rajon Rondo ($ 9 million), JaVale McGee ($ 2.4 million), Lance Stephenson ($ 4.5 million) and Michael Beasley ($ 3.5m) – this strategy saved LA's cap-place for 2019, but coincided with the departures of Brook Lopez and Julius Randle, while possibly complicating a list of promising youngsters were introduced.

  LeBron James

Andrew D. Bernstein / Getty Images

According to Barkley, LA's approach to coach Luke Walton will cause significant problems due to the split identity of the roster.

"This is an impossible scenario for Luke," he said. "He has LeBron, who's going to do things in his own way, he has those little kids who are probably fascinated by LeBron, he has those older guys who are trying to get some attention, I do not think Lance and Rondo go there Going to be the ninth or tenth person on the bench and being calm all year long. You will want to touch. "

The biggest long-term risk to this approach, he argued, was the growth of recent drafts like Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart to brake.

I do not like what [the Lakers] do, "Barkley continued during a promotional interview for his new contract with Panini America," It will take away its young core. They have some good young players. You try to build Lonzo, Ingram, Kuzma. With all the other stuff I do not know if that is a good environment for these kids. In contrast, Barkley praised the spurs of Leonard and Danny Green at the Raptors for DeMar DeRozan, Jacob Poeltl, and a win in the first round as "win-win." He named the 7-foot Poeltl "one of the Most underrated players in the NBA "and rejected the idea that San Antonio had under no circumstances traded Leonard to LA.

" The Spurs have been the model franchise for the past 20 years, "Barkley said Do not trade with the world's second best player [Leonard] to play with the best player in the world [James]. Why would you swap him and then play him over the next five to ten years? That would be just stupid. "

The East is developing into a less predictable summit after James' departure and Leonard's arrival, and after attaining the Conference Finals in 2017 and 2018, the Celtics are considered the early favorites for the 2019 finals because they welcome the all-stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward after the end of the season.

From Barkley's point of view, however, the Celtics should not be drawn into their first finals appearance since 2010.

"Everyone is ready to die Eastern Conference to the Celtics. Everyone has to take a step back, "he said." It will not be an easy task. Brad Stevens has his hands full. When people think that Kyrie and Hayward will come back and [Jayson] Tatum and Jaylen Brown are just going to resign and the boys are doing all the shooting, people are crazy. "

With Leonard," probably the best player in the East when he is healthy, "Barkley argued that the Raptors are now real challengers to win the East, winning 59 games in the last season before coming in Replacing longtime coach Dwane Casey with his first coach, Nick Nurse, Leonard, who is 27 and entering a contract year, should establish himself as the best single player in the franchise's history when faced with a quad injury involving him

"I hope Toronto is a better team than they were and that Kawhi Leonard stays there," he said, "I'm biased. This is probably my favorite city in the world: Toronto. Hopefully he will fall in love there [Raptors president] Masai [Ujiri]. You will have a really good team.

  Kevin Durant

Andrew D Bernstein / Getty Images

A summer survey by Barkley would not be complete without some thought about the Warriors, who in July became the All-Star Center DeMarcus cousin After signing a back-to-back title in a one-year deal, while admitting that Golden State "is pretty unbeatable right now," Barkley could not resist making a few digs at Durant, who spent the last week in a Twitter dispute with Blazers guard CJ McCollum.

"Kevin Durant is just a really nice guy trying to be a bad guy," Barkley said. "You can do not do. It does not work. He spends all his time trying to prove to people how hard and bad he is. He is so worried about what other people say. Kevin Durant is a great player and a great kid. I was one of those people who criticized him for going to Golden State, but he does not have to answer every time someone says something. "

McCollum said on Twitter that Durant had made a" soft "decision by calling the Thunder for the Warriors in 2016, which prompted Durant to call McCollum a" snake. "Prior to that, Durant had hopes for Portland's hopes During last week's US Basketball minicamp, Durant argued that it was McCollum and not Durant himself who was "upset" by the exchange, and the two-time Finals MVP also said, that the media mistakenly referred to him as sensitive.

Barkley did not buy this interpretation of events in the least.

"Who has thinner skin: Shaquille O'Neal or Kevin Durant? They both have skinny skin like Flat Stanley, "he joked, referring to the children's book series by author Jeff Brown, whose title character was flattened by a bulletin board." You just have to rest. "

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