For those that expected Bill Simmons to slide right into Charles Barkley’s seat on Inside the NBA, you’ve got another thing coming. At the Turner Sports upfront event on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden, it was announced that the entire Inside the NBA crew (Barkley, Ernie Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kenny Smith) had signed multi-year extensions with the company.
This is quite interesting, especially given Barkley’s comments about possibly leaving broadcasting once his current contract (pre-extension) expired. Apparently, *something* changed over the last year to motivate Barkley to stick around with Turner. Maybe it was the exciting NBA season, or Barkley’s increased work with the NCAA Tournament, or hell, a dump truck of money being backed up to Barkley’s doorstep. But regardless of his motivations, what’s newsworthy here is that the band isn’t breaking up any time soon and one of the best studio shows going today will keep rolling along for the foreseeable future.
But this question needs to be asked, despite everyone coming close to experiencing Bill Simmons fatigue: where does this leave Simmons in regards to Turner? I don’t think it’ll change much of anything. If Turner wants him, they’ll work something out, whether that requires them to add a fifth set to the Inside the NBA set, give Simmons a regular segment on the show, or even give Simmons his own separate show, much like the Grantland Basketball Hour. Barkley, Johnson, O’Neal, and Smith all returning simply means Turner will need to get a little more creative in order to give Simmons a TV outlet, if he so desires it.