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Why Charles Barkley has "no doubt in my mind we’re going to have a strike or a lockout."

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In an effort to help small-market teams keep their stars, the league introduced the supermax. The logic was simple - more money will make the player stay. But as always, things don't happen in a vacuum. While this "solution" was planned out and implemented, player empowerment spread its wings. Charles Barkley thinks that series of events leads to a lockout.

Players took it too far

Barkley wants to make it clear; he's happy NBA players are making a ton of money. He said it several times; this is not a case of a player from an older generation complaining because he thinks it's not fair his generation wasn't making as much. For Sir Charles, the problem is when players start to abuse the power they have.

“James Harden took the money and said f**k you and gave Houston the middle finger. Now you got Ben Simmons who they owe $150 million, and he said, f**k you, I’m not playing there. It’s screwed up. Going forward, you’re going to have to give a guy $150 million or $200 million and if he’s ever unhappy, you’re at his mercy. I don’t think that’s good for our league.”

Charles Barkley, Compare.bet

You can add Anthony Davis to the list of superstars who forced their way out in recent years. Seems like New Orleans is heading in the same direction with Zion as well, but the play seems to be "sign the supermax first, create a problem and get traded second."

It's destroying the idea behind the supermax - it was supposed to keep the players with the team they signed the contract with. But once you normalize players wanting out with years on their contract, throwing more money at them won't help. They'll just take the money and then leave.

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Lockout is coming

For a long time, Adam Silver kept the owners at bay and allowed players to wield their power however they saw fit. Then Ben Simmons decided to inform the 76ers he's not showing up. We covered how Klutch had the king of holdouts teach them his doctrine, and they obviously believed Simmons would eventually get all his money back.

Then the Board of Governors had their annual meeting, and shortly after that, the NBPA (Players Union) informed Simmons and his camp there was no way he was getting the money back. Suddenly, the young socialite showed up in Philadelphia, ready to experience some back tightness and pain.

One of the ideas floated around is that the new CBA includes language to prevent situations like these. The concept is simple - if a player on a supermax gets traded during that deal, his salary is automatically reduced to the max the team he is traded to could've offered. The owners will push for something like this, and the NBPA will push back. That's why Sir Charles sees a lockout in the near future.

“The owners are not going to take this s**t lying down. I think the next collective bargaining agreement is going to be very contentious. There’s no doubt in my mind we’re going to have a strike or a lockout.”

Charles Barkley, Compare.bet

The next CBA negotiations will take place with a very good sense of a new TV deal, which is projected to be around $75 billion over 9 years. (The current TV deal is $25 billion over 9 years.) So a lockout would be extremely expensive for everyone involved.

That being said, I think Barkley is right. The new CBA will definitely include language that gives the owners a lot more protection in a Simmons situation. If they insist on the solution being very punitive financially, a lockout isn't off the table. I hope both sides manage to find a solution, and Barkley's prediction doesn't come true.

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