LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – NBA legend and media pundit Charles Barkley Thursday said that he believes the league should step in and veto any trade this season that would send New Orleans Pelicans’ superstar Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Speaking on his show “Inside the NBA,” Barkley called such a deal an act of “collusion.”
“(NBA Commissioner) Adam Silver need to block that trade… I don’t like what the Lakers is doing… I don’t think it’s right,” Barkley said.
Barkley was referring to the fact that the 25-year-old Davis and the Lakers own LeBron James are represented by the same agency, Klutch Sports Group, which is managed by James’ friend Rich Paul.
“Rich Paul got mad at me cause I said, a month ago, ‘the fix is in, Anthony Davis is going to the Lakers,’ this is before all this rumors started,” Barkley added. “He didn’t like me saying the fix is in. The fix has been in.”
Earlier this week, the six-time All-Star Davis reportedly informed the Pelicans that he will not resign with the team when his contract is up following the 2019-20 season. Davis has long been linked to the Lakers.
“We cannot have agents and players colluding to stack super teams,” Barkley said.
History could be repeating itself, as Barkley’s comments recall an almost identical scenario in 2011 in which former NBA Commissioner David Stern vetoed a trade that would have sent then-New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul to the Lakers. Paul later ended up being traded to the Lakers’ crosstown rival Clippers.
At the time, Stern had the ability to veto the trade because the league itself actually owned the Hornets, making Stern its unofficial general manager.
The L.A. Times’ Brad Turner reported Thursday that the Lakers have already offered the Pelicans a trade that includes Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and Ivica Zubac in exchange for Davis.
Meanwhile, LeBron returned to the court Thursday night following a 17-game absence – the longest such absence of his career – due to a groin injury. LeBron helped the Lakers beat the Clippers 123-100 in overtime.