Any time Charles Barkey starts telling stories nuggets of gold drop.
Barkley sat down with Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated to talk about his stance on analytics (Barkley loves that straw man argument) and his comments about race in America.
Then when asked if there was any other team besides Phoenix in the running to trade for him in 1992 — and Barkley said the Lakers.
“It was going crazy for two weeks so I knew it would come down to Portland, [the] Lakers or Phoenix. So I get a call from my agent one morning and he said, “Philly has traded you to the Lakers.” So I went to lunch and started drinking. I’m f—ing so excited that I am going to the Lakers. Three hours later I get a f—ing phone call from my agent saying that the Sixers backed out of the deal. I said, “Oh, s–t, I’m feeling pretty good right now.” So I went out and played that night.”
That 1992 version was near peak Barkley — 23.1 points a game on 55.2 percent shooting, plus he pulled down 11.1 rebounds a game. He made second team All NBA that season.
Barkley would have made that 43-win, eight-seed Lakers team a lot more dangerous. Worthy was still good (19.9 points a game that season) but he was no Barkley. That said he wouldn’t have made the Lakers instant contenders; that was an LA team coached by Mike Dunleavy that leaned heavily on Sedale Threatt and Sam Perkins.
Instead, after the season Barkley was traded to the Suns for Jeff Hornacek, Andrew Lang, and Tim Perry.