Charles Barkley addresses Rudy Gobert's issue with NBA referee Photo credit: TNT

The NBA on TNT might not be dead yet, but Charles Barkley is already pointing fingers at Warner Bros. Discovery president and CEO David Zaslav.

With WBD’s TNT seeming on the outside looking in at the NBA’s new media rights deal, Charles Barkley joined The Dan Patrick Show Thursday morning to discuss the feeling inside their building.

“Morale sucks. Plain and simple,” Barkley said bluntly. “I just feel so bad for the people I work with. These people have families and I just really feel bad for them right now. These people I work with, they’ve screwed this thing up, clearly. And we don’t have zero idea what’s gonna happen. I don’t feel good, I’m not gonna lie. Especially when they came out yesterday and said, ‘We bought college football.’ I was like, ‘Damn, we could have used that money to buy the NBA.’”

While WBD has not officially announced they’ve lost the NBA, Barkley believed TNT Sports sub-licensing College Football Playoff games from ESPN was a sign that they’re moving on from basketball. Recognizing Barkley’s anger over the situation, Patrick asked how the Basketball Hall-of-Famer believes WBD executives screwed up its negotiations with the NBA.

“The first thing is they came out and said, ‘We didn’t need the NBA.’ So, I think that probably pissed Adam [Silver] off,” Barkley admitted. “I don’t know that. But when we merged, that’s the first thing our boss said, ‘We don’t need the NBA.’ Well, he don’t need it. But me, Kenny, Shaq, Ernie and the rest of the people who work there, we need it. It just sucks right now.”

Early in his tenure as Warner Bros. Discovery president and CEO, David Zaslav said “We don’t have to have the NBA.” Less than two years later, Zaslav is rapidly approaching life without the NBA on TNT as NBA commissioner Adam Silver seems hellbent on moving the league’s “B” package of games to NBC. Zaslav is scrambling to retain the NBA by using the network’s “matching rights” clause, but as Barkley notes, they may have screwed these negotiations up beyond repair.

If the NBA on TNT is over, what does that mean for Barkley, Ernie Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith on one of the premier studio shows in sports? Patrick suggested forming a production company, keeping the show in Atlanta and selling it to NBC or Amazon, an idea Barkley said he’s already entertaining.

“I’ve talked to the guys about everybody signing with my production company,” Barkley said. “I would love to do that if [TNT loses the NBA]… we’re just sitting back waiting on these people to figure out what they’re gonna do.”

But if Inside the NBA moves to Barkley’s production company and ultimately another network, it will have to wait a year because TNT still has NBA rights next season. And if Barkley is already putting his bosses on blast before TNT even officially loses NBA rights, next season’s swan song for Inside the NBA should be very interesting.

[The Dan Patrick Show]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to