Charles Barkley with ESPN, TNT, NBC Sports and Amazon logos. Charles Barkley with ESPN, TNT, NBC Sports and Amazon logos.

At this point, it seems clear that the NBA’s time on TNT is nearing its end. And so too is likely the TNT career of Charles Barkley.

As the likelihood of Warner Bros. Discovery being on the outside looking in at the NBA’s next media rights deal came into focus, the Hall of Fame forward hasn’t been shy to share that he has the ability to opt out of his contract if TNT is no longer one of the league’s partners. And with the NBA reportedly finalizing an agreement with Disney (ESPN), Comcast (NBC) and Amazon (Prime Video) this week, that means that one of the biggest sports media free agencies in recent memory is seemingly on the horizon.

What’s more is that considering the current sports media landscape, the possibilities for Barkley’s future are endless. With that in mind, let’s examine — and handicap — his likeliest landing spots.

Amazon – 2/1

In the time since Inside the NBA‘s future first became uncertain, Amazon has solidified itself as the favorite to land the beloved studio show. As the streamer prepares to become a part of the NBA family, adding the league’s signature studio show — and media personality in Barkley — would make Prime Video even more of a must-have for fans.

Amazon obviously has plenty of money to spend to make such a deal happen. The only question is whether it will be willing to do so for what is the NBA’s “C” rights package.

Fine Line Productions – 3/1

Barkley first floated the idea of taking Inside the NBA under his own production company during his appearance on The Dan Patrick Show on Thursday and it hardly seems far-fetched. Not only would it allow Barkley the freedom to sublicense the show to another network, but it would seemingly be the best way to keep the entire Inside the NBA cast intact when taking into account Ernie Johnson’s desire to remain at TNT.

Obviously, this route would be a massive undertaking for Barkley. But as Pat McAfee can attest to, it can also be a very fruitful one.

ESPN – 5/1

The possibility of Barkley joining ESPN, which will remain the NBA’s top media partner, can’t be discounted. After years (decades?) of wrestling with how to handle its own NBA studio show, why not just acquire the best one instead?

Taking into account ESPN’s recent strategy with talent, it’s not hard to imagine the Mound Round of Rebound becoming one of the network’s signature stars. As Disney prepares to launch ESPN’s direct-to-consumer streaming service, having Barkley at its disposal would make a lot of sense.

NBC Sports 6/1

On the surface, the idea of Inside the NBA moving from TNT to NBC seems obvious. After all, the Comcast-owned network is essentially replacing TNT as the owner of the NBA’s “B” package.

But if NBC is going to model its NBA coverage after its NFL coverage — including a reported Basketball Night in America show on Sunday nights — it’s hard to see where Barkley might fit in. While he would obviously provide a massive boost to the network’s NBA coverage, NBC hasn’t typically buoyed its NFL coverage with high profile studio analysts.

The Field (20/1)

Is it likely that Barkley would wind up somewhere like Barstool Sports, Meadowlark Media, The Ringer, Yahoo or a network without NBA rights like CBS or Fox? Absolutely not. But when added together, there could be some value in the hypothetical longshot.

TNT Sports 25/1

Following his comments to Patrick on Thursday, the only thing that seems less likely than Barkley landing at a non-TV outlet is him remaining at an NBA-less TNT.

Perhaps there’s a way that WBD could continue producing Inside the NBA and lease it elsewhere. But even with that possibility in mind, this seems like a total longshot.

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.