Anyone who’s followed the NBA for any amount of time is used to hearing Hall of Fame player-turned-TNT basketball analyst Charles Barkley speak his mind whenever a microphone is shoved in his face.
Wednesday, during an appearance on the Waddle and Silvy show on ESPN Chicago, Barkley had some interesting thoughts on the Bulls and their offseason:
I’ll be totally shocked if they don’t make the playoffs. And I’m not just saying this…I think it’s fair to say the Chicago Bulls have had the best offseason in the NBA.
Maybe Barkley is attempting to jump back into Michael Jordan’s inner circle? While that is indeed doubtful, these comments from Barkley aren’t surprising at all. Sir Charles has been as transparent as someone can be in his feelings about superteams over the years: He can’t stand them; he thinks they are bad for the game. Even though Barkley once formed a superteam (sort of) towards the end of his career. (Don’t tell me you forgot that Dream/Glide/Round Mound team?!)
Yes, the Bulls have made strides toward becoming a playoff team in the Eastern Conference. But if there’s one thing they are not, that would be a superteam. Of course, no one besides Barkley can speak for the former rebound champ, but that seems to be a significant factor for him with this Bulls team. The fact that Chicago didn’t bring in two top-10 players to team up with Zach LaVine… I feel that’s why Barkley likes what the Bulls did during the offseason.
Trading for Lonzo Ball and DeMar DeRozan are good solid moves. Alongside LaVine, these are moves that should make the Bulls entertaining to watch and should place them in the hunt for a play-in spot at the least. The Bulls were on that same track last season until LaVine suffered an injury down the stretch and the team proceeded to implode on itself.
Another team in the NBA might raise an argument to Barkley’s point about the Bulls. The Los Angeles Lakers also took part in a major overhauling of their roster in the offseason.
The Lakers nearly broke the internet when the trade for Russell Westbrook was announced. The Lakers went out and signed Dwight Howard, Trevor Ariza, Carmelo Anthony, Kent Bazemore, Kendrick Nunn, Wayne Ellington, and Malik Monk in free agency. This may be a bit too close to forming another superteam (albeit admittedly a few years too late for that actual designation) for Barkley’s liking. LeBron James and Anthony Davis are now being teamed with Westbrook, Anthony, and Howard. Lots of name recognition for sure.
Whether you believe these moves make the Lakers a superteam or not, it should be enough to make them the favorites out west, provided that Lebron and AD can stay on the court in the postseason.
The Miami Heat might also have something to say about Barkley’s crowning of the Bulls as offseason champions. The Heat traded Goran Dragic for Kyle Lowry. While it isn’t the same as signing Giannis Antetokounmpo, Lowry is an upgrade at the point guard position. Plus, Lowry should be a great fit for this team alongside Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and the squad. The Heat also wrestled P.J. Tucker away from the Milwaukee Bucks. Tucker is another tough player that should make a seamless transition in Miami. If the Heat can somehow figure out how to keep Victor Oladipo on the court and less time on the injured list, this team could be a serious contender in the east.
These teams have all had good offseasons by making significant acquisitions, but now they must prove it on the court. And for the Bulls, they’ll need to make Barkley look good in his analysis of their offseason.