Author: Kurt Helin

2014 NBA Finals Game Three

Charles Barkley says he’s likely to leave TNT in two years when contract ends


Inside the NBA is one the joys of the NBA season. Every Thursday night Ernie Johnson tries to play ringleader with Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal in a show that is part hoops, part barbershop, part mocking JaVale McGee and mostly just a must watch part of the NBA.

It wouldn’t be the same without the outspoken Barkley.

But after a couple more years he may walk away. That’s what he said at the TNT NBA season tip-off event in New York on Monday, something attended by Sean Deveney of the Sporting News.

Finally, Barkley said his time as a broadcaster for TNT is nearing an end. He has two years on his contract, and said that the lucrative new deal the NBA signed with TNT (and ESPN) won’t affect his decision to walk away. He did mention that he might change course and stay for an even 20 years, and also expressed an interest in taking a general manager’s job.

“I love my job, I love the people I work with,” Barkley said. “My big decision is, I’ve got two years left on my deal. That’ll be 17 years. That’s a long time to do a job. I would rather leave too early than stay too long. And 17 years is a long time. I told Ernie when I took the job, I was only going to be here four years. Now 15 years later, I’m still here. I’m leaning heavily toward it, toward finishing my two years and leaving on a good note.”

Having heard Charles Barkley expound on players and contracts over the past decade plus on this show, there is zero chance I would give him a shot as an NBA GM.

I appreciate that he wants to try different things, that he wants to find a new challenge. That’s healthy. That spirit is what makes Barkley Barkley.

But for selfish reasons, I want Inside the NBA to go on as it is roughly forever. There is no other sports pre/post talking head show as good (ESPN’s College Gameday for football comes close). It is must watch. It is a great perspective while being incredibly entertaining.

And it wouldn’t be the same without Barkley.

PBT Extra: Who joins Spurs, Cavaliers as title contenders?

2014 NBA Finals Game Five

It’s a safe bet that the NBA champion is going to come from one of five teams.

That’s what Jenna Corrado and I discuss in this latest PBT Extra. The Spurs are going to set the bar in the West, to win a title you’re going to have to beat the team that won it last season. The Clippers are in the mix, but we talk about how Durant’s injury could be a setback come the playoffs for the Thunder.

Out East, we talk about how the Cavaliers and Bulls match up. That picture should be much more clear after the All-Star break.

(I think Golden State and Dallas can be dark horse contenders, but they need a lot of things to go right.)

Report: Trail Blazers will not pick up option on Thomas Robinson, he becomes free agent next summer

Thomas Robinson

Thomas Robinson has been up and down with Portland. At one point last season he fell completely out of their front court rotation (Meyers Leonard got the burn instead) but when pressed into action later in the season as a backup center due to injuries he looked solid. However Chris Kaman on the roster now Robinson’s minutes are going to be limited this season.

All of which was enough for Portland not to pick up his option, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

The Portland Trail Blazers will let forward Thomas Robinson become an unrestricted free agent next summer, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

The Blazers declined to pick up the fourth-year option – worth $4.6 million – on Robinson’s deal on Monday.

This was not a surprise at all.

Robinson is very athletic and is a force on the on the glass, but there are a lot of holes in his game. Offensively he doesn’t finish that well inside, while defensively he has some spectacular blocks but opposing players (particularly centers) shoot a high percentage against him.

He’ll get a contract offer from some team next summer, but unless he shows an improving game it will not be for the kind of money a former No. 5 pick (taken ahead of Damian Lillard) would expect.

Former NBA All-Star Mookie Blaylock sentenced to 15 years for vehicular homicide


At the end of May in 2013, a car driven by former Atlanta Hawk Daron “Mookie” Blaylock drifted over to the wrong side of an Atlanta area road and collided head-on with a car driven by Monica Murphy, killing the mother of five.

Monday Blaylock pled guilty to vehicular homicide in the case and was sentenced to 15 years in jail, reports the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

While he was sentenced to 15 years, the 47-year-old former NBA star will only serve three years in prison for vehicular homicide and other charges in the May 31, 2013, death of Monica Murphy, according to the terms of a negotiated plea deal.

That plea came on the day jury selection was to start, attorney Amanda Palmer told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The negotiated deal, seven years in prison and eight on probation, allows for Blaylock’s prison sentence to be suspended after three years. The conditions for the suspension include 1,500 hours of community service and treatment for alcoholism, including twice weekly Alcoholic Anonymous meetings. Additionally, he cannot drive until his probation is completed, Palmer said.

There was no alcohol in Blaylock’s blood at the time of the accident, according to reports. Blaylock almost died in the accident, spending days in the hospital’s intensive care unit.

Blaylock played 13 years in the NBA, seven in Atlanta plus stints in New Jersey and Golden State. He was a lock down defender who twice led the league in steals (he remains the Hawks franchise leader in steals). He also was one of the first guards to really embrace shooting the three ball (back in the 80s it was still a novelty.

The band Pearl Jam was first known around Seattle as Mookie Blaylock until the player forced the band to change its name.

Report: Knicks to trade Travis Outlaw to Sixers for Arnett Moultrie

Toronto Raptors v New York Knicks

Travis Outlaw couldn’t stick in Sacramento last season (they were nearly four points worse per 100 possessions when he played) and after getting a look at him in training camp the Knicks decided they might just cut him loose and keep undrafted rookie Travis Wear.

Except the Knicks found a taker in a trade — the Philadelphia 76ers. A team that has no use for Outlaw either and will soon cut him free.

Marc Stein of ESPN broke the news.

UPDATE: New York acquired then instantly waived Arnett Moultrie. He could be destined for their D-League team.

The Knicks have Quincy Acy up front, he will get the minutes that it seemed Outlaw might get before camp opened.

Moultrie is unquestionably athletic but after a nice rookie season took a huge step back last season following ankle injuries. He had conditioning issues (and missed five games for a drug suspension last season) but looked a little better in the preseason, putting up solid lines. That was not enough.

What does Philadelphia get out of this? Picks. Sam Hinkie is still hoarding picks. And they get worse on the court. They have no real use for Outlaw, they are going to give frontline minutes to Nerlens Noel, Henry Sims, Malcolm Thomas (who they like) and Brandon Davies.

It’s not likely Outlaw — a stretch four who is a negative on both ends of the court at this point (although he can hit some threes) — will land another deal.