And-Ones: TNT Sports, Trades, Santa Cruz, Award Votes

With TNT Sports seemingly on the verge of losing its NBA broadcast rights to NBC during the current round of media rights negotiations, it’s possible the 2024/25 season will be the last one that features TNT’s iconic Inside the NBA studio show, featuring Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Shaquille O’Neal. Appearing on The Dan Patrick Show (Twitter video link), Barkley admitted it has been discouraging to watch the process play out.

“Morale sucks, plain and simple,” Barkley said (hat tip to Richard Deitsch of The Athletic). “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. You know these people I work with (management), they screwed this thing up, clearly. We have zero idea what’s going to happen. I don’t feel good. I’m not going to lie. Especially when they came out and said we bought college football. I was like, well, damn, they could have used that money to buy the NBA.

“… We’ve never had college football, never been involved with college football. I’m like, ‘Wait a minute, shouldn’t we be spending every dime we got to keep the NBA?’ So morale sucks, to be honest with you.”

Asked how TNT Sports got to this point, Barkley suggested that the comments made in 2022 by Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav – who said his company “didn’t have to have the NBA” – didn’t help matters.

“They came out and said we didn’t need the NBA. I think that probably pissed (NBA commissioner) Adam (Silver) off,” Barkley said. “I don’t know that, but when (Warner Bros. and Discovery) merged, that’s the first thing our boss said. ‘We don’t need the NBA.’ Well, he don’t need it, but the rest of the people — me, Kenny, Shaq and Ernie and the people who work there, we need it. So, it just sucks right now.”

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • They were overshadowed by bigger deals at their respective trade deadlines, but the Celtics‘ 2022 acquisition of Derrick White and the Knicks‘ 2023 addition of Josh Hart are examples of non-blockbuster trades that helped turn good teams into contenders, writes Zach Lowe of ESPN (Insider link). Lowe provides some interesting tidbits on those deals, citing sources who say the Jazz were also interested in White when Boston was pursuing him and that the Trail Blazers didn’t open Hart talks to the rest of the league because New York was his preferred destination.
  • The Santa Cruz Warriors – Golden State’s affiliate – have been named the G League Franchise of the Year for the third time in the past four years (Twitter link). The team went 31-19 during the NBAGL’s Showcase Cup and regular season and ranked first in the league in both ticket sales and partnership revenue, according to the press release.
  • The NBA has officially released the full ballots from all the media members who voted on the major awards for 2023/24, including the All-NBA, All-Defensive, and All-Rookie teams. You can view those ballots – and find out which voters made this year’s most surprising selections – right here.
  • The Ringer’s staff ranked the NBA’s top 25 players who are 25 years old or under, with Victor Wembanyama, Anthony Edwards, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander topping the list.
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