Sunday was the best day of the 2022-23 NBA regular season thus far. All four national TV games delivered, as Suns-Bucks, Lakers-Mavs, Timberwolves-Warriors, and Clippers-Nuggets all produced thrillers that went all the way down to the wire in the fourth quarter and/or overtime. We also got to see a buzzer-beater, courtesy of Trae Young to lift Atlanta over Brooklyn, and Damian Lillard put 71 points on the Rockets to match Donovan Mitchell for this season’s highest scoring output.
It was a tremendous day of hoops, and as such Stephen A. Smith and the First Take crew decided to dial in Charles Barkley to break down what we all saw as well as the overall state of the league as we enter the stretch run. As always happens, Barkley was asked about Kevin Durant and the Suns (full video above), with Chuck playing the hits and talking about how KD has to win without Steph Curry and insisting he’d never join a superteam while conveniently forgetting about his tenure in Houston.
However, he did push back when Stephen A. tried to make the issue with KD about money, as Smith tried to say Durant’s inability to lead a team to a title should hurt him at the negotiating table. That set Chuck up for a comeback that had Smith in stitches, as he explained that you can’t come at stars about money because “we’re paying bums today.”
Charles Barkley sounds off on today’s player salaries
“We’re paying bums today … We’re just giving $200-300 million out like candy.” pic.twitter.com/SXQKNAoUez
— First Take (@FirstTake) February 27, 2023
It’s a very funny riff from Charles that has Stephen A. cackling — although, it should be said that we should generally respect folks who do genuine hard work like being janitors — but the point stands that you can’t be mad about what someone like KD gets paid with some of the contracts that get thrown around. Barkley tries to make clear that he’s not mad (although he seems a little bit jealous), but he does want players to be a bit more appreciative of their financial standing, which led to another load management diatribe about guys needing to play if they’re going to make $30-$50 million a year.