Charles Barkley plans to retire when he's 60. This is not necessarily new news, but Barkley did bring it up yesterday in his appearance on 106.7 The Fan's Grant & Danny show. He previously mentioned in during an interview in 2019, so it sounds like that's still the plan.
The question is, who will fill Barkley's shoes on Inside The NBA? Barkley will turn 60 during the 2022-2023 season, which means TNT has to start to look ahead at his replacement. They'll have plenty of time to try people out in addition to the many personalities they already have in-house. Here are four possible replacements.
Wade seems like the most likely TNT personality to move to the big show permanently. He's close with Barkley. He's good on television. He is an all-time player who has won multiple rings which gives him the standing in the NBA community to say whatever he wants, but he also seems to be having fun out there.
The real question is, will he want the job? The answer is probably yes, but who knows. Wade is into everything and anything he wants thanks to his contract with WarnerMedia. He's hosting a gameshow on TBS, he's producing a documentary, and he is even working with Bleacher Report. The flexibility of the show allows guys like Shaq to have in all their other ventures, combined with the prestige of starring on the sport's premier studio show.
Another in-house possibility. Parker is excellent on the NBA on TNT Tuesday show. She has championship rings, MVP awards and gold medals so her resume as a player is unimpeachable. She even immediately replaces the playful conflict that underlies the Barkley and Shaq relationship that creates some of the funnier and cringier parts of the show.
Not to mention this would be incredible for the Big Picture for the NBA, the WNBA and women's sports in general. Becky Hammon will presumably be a head coach by then. Sabrina Ionescu is already in commercials with Chris Paul and Parker will probably end up with contact product endorsements by spending so much time with Shaq.
Draymond Green is the spiritual successor to Barkley. He has filled in on TNT in spots after the Golden State Warriors' seasons have ended the last couple years. He's entertianing, unafraid to speak his mind and he's so unfiltered on television he's already been fined for tampering.
The question is, how much longer will Green play? He has a $27 million player option after the '22-'23 season and it is unlikely he opts out of that, which means he will not be ready for full-time work when Barkley retires if he sticks to his plan. And after that, will he want to keep playing? He skills have looked diminished the last couple seasons even if he has remained a first team All-Defense level defender. As far as current players, I bet TNT would have him as their top pick, but the timing just isn't going to work out.
Wouldn't this be a curveball? Danny Ainge retired from the Celtics front office just a few weeks ago and the rumors have been that he might want another front office position, but at 62 does he really want to keep working that hard? Why not to go back to Turner where he briefly worked between careers as Phoenix Suns coach and Boston Celtics executive? Why not sit around a studio for a few hours a week and let America know what he thinks about all the guys he just almost traded for?
Longterm, this is obviously not the play for TNT (he's older than his Phoenix Suns teammate Barkley), but if he wanted to be a placeholder while Draymond Green finished his career, it would make sense for both parties.
I'm just putting this here because the future is uncertain and you have no idea what it could hold. Paul just turned 36. He has a $44 million player option next season. Who knows what happens after that, especially if he wins a title in a few weeks and puts a cherry on top of his career resume. Maybe he wants to do television besides State Farm ads and Family Feud.