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

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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.

Bucks fans greet team, Giannis Antetokounmpo at Milwaukee airport (VIDEO)

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The Milwaukee Bucks season is over. Giannis Antetokounmpo and his supporting cast couldn’t get things done in Game 6 on Saturday night against the Toronto Raptors in Canada. Now it’s Kawhi Leonard who is heading to the 2019 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors.

This season was a magical one for Milwaukee, one in which they took the No. 1 overall seed in the Eastern Conference and likely have the league’s MVP in Antetokounmpo.

As you might expect, Bucks fans are happy about that fact, and showed up to the Milwaukee’s Mitchell Airport to greet their returning team.

Via Twitter:

It has to be nice for athletes to get this kind of treatment. Although some may want to just go home and languish in their defeat, the unwavering support of fanatics has to take the bite out of the sting, even if just a little bit.

Nets hire Hawks’ Peterson as assistant general manager

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NEW YORK (AP) — The Brooklyn Nets have hired Jeff Peterson as their assistant general manager.

Peterson replaces Trajan Langdon, who was hired as the New Orleans Pelicans’ GM.

Peterson spent seven seasons in the front office of the Atlanta Hawks, the last three as assistant general manager. He worked there with Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson, who was an assistant to coach Mike Budenholzer.

Nets general manager Sean Marks says Saturday that Peterson is an “innovative basketball executive” whose “extensive scouting and front office experience” will be assets to a Nets team that lost in the first round of the playoffs.

Warriors open as big betting favorites to win NBA title over Raptors

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Kevin Durant is going to be out to start the series, with no exact timetable on his return.

The Toronto Raptors were very impressive — with Kawhi Leonard leading the way and a fantastic halfcourt defense — in eliminating the Milwaukee Bucks.

None of that changes the overall picture — the Golden State Warriors are heavy favorites to win the NBA Finals.

The Warriors are -320 to win the NBA title, the Raptors +260 at the Ceasars Palace sportsbook. What that means for non-gamblers is you have to bet $320 to win $100 on the Warriors, while a $100 bet on the Raptors wins $260.

The Warriors are also 1.5 point favorites to win Game 1 on the road without Durant and coming off a nine-day layoff where rust is to be expected.

Toronto won both regular season meetings between these teams, but both games also were before Christmas.

These lines are the respect the Warriors have earned with two straight titles, three in four years, and a sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers. The Warriors are a dynasty led by Stephen Curry, the Raptors in their first finals, these betting lines were to be expected, and they will follow general public sentiment.

Charles Barkley, on the other hand, picks the Raptors in an upset. Do with that information what you will.

Giannis Antetokounmpo walks out of postgame press conference

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Giannis Antetokounmpo wants to win, wants to make the NBA Finals. Badly. As in he could walk if the Bucks don’t do that in the next couple of years.

Antetokounmpo already showed he was willing to walk — he did so right out of his postgame press conference Saturday night after the Bucks were eliminated from the playoffs by the Raptors.

Khris Middleton‘s “you just leaving me here” face is the best part of this video.

Chalk that up to frustration, on a couple of levels. The question is legitimate — how much this experience helps the Bucks grow and fuels their offseason will say a lot about where they are as a team in a year — but it’s also understandable that in the moment the Greek Freak doesn’t want to talk about it. Or, really, in that spot have the perspective to do the question justice. Middleton went on to say, “hopefully, we learn from this.”

The other part of this is that the reporter, Malika Andrews, wrote a story at ESPN about how Antetokounmpo making the Finals would play a big role in if he stays or not in Milwaukee past this contract. That is not the narrative Antetokounmpo wants out there about him, and sometimes this is how players deal with reporters who write things they don’t like.

Antetokounmpo is one of the league’s good guys, don’t expect this to become a trend.