Media Rights

Charles Barkley Says He’s Retiring From TV After 2024/25 Season

Charles Barkley, an NBA Hall of Famer and one of the stars of TNT’s Insider the NBA studio show, said he’s retiring from television following the conclusion of next season, as noted by ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk.

I ain’t going nowhere other than TNT,” Barkley said on NBATV following during Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Friday night. “But I have made the decision that no matter what happens, next year is going to be my last year on television. And I just want to say thank you to my NBA family. You guys have been great to me. My heart is full with joy and gratitude.

The future of Inside the NBA has been up in the air, given the NBA’s ongoing media rights negotiations. As Youngmisuk notes, Disney (ABC/ESPN), Amazon, NBC and Warner Bros. Discovery (TNT) are all hoping to secure broadcast deals with the NBA. However, if WBD is left out, it would mean the end of Inside the NBA and all games on TNT.

[RELATED: TNT Remains In Talks For Possible Fourth NBA Rights Package]

Barkley has decided to avoid any uncertainty about his future by announcing his impending retirement now.

I hope the NBA stays with TNT, but for me personally, I wanted you guys to hear it from me … I wanted to tell my NBATV and TNT family that I’m not going to another network, but I’m going to pass the baton to either Jamal Crawford or Vince Carter or you, Steve (Smith),” Barkley said. “But next year, I’m going to just retire after 25 years, and I just wanted to say thank you. And I wanted y’all to hear it from me first.

Barkley’s served as a TV analyst for TNT since 2000. He has hosted Inside the NBA alongside Ernie Johnson (who’s hosted since 1990), Kenny “The Jet” Smith (since 1998) and Shaquille O’Neal (since 2011). Barkley has also co-hosted every NCAA Final Four since 2011.

Adam Silver Discusses Media Rights, Expansion, More

Speaking to reporters prior to Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday, commissioner Adam Silver didn’t give a firm timeline for when the league’s ongoing media rights negotiations would be completed, but he did address why the process is so complex, writes Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press.

It’s complicated for several reasons,” Silver said. “One is the advent of new platforms, particularly streaming and the interest of streaming companies and in the traditional media companies also carrying our games on streaming platforms. It’s complicated because with multiple partners, all seeking similar assets in many cases, you’re just figuring out the right way to balance those games as they go to different partners.”

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the NBA continues to move closer to finalizing a media rights deal with ABC/ESPN, NBC, and Amazon. The new agreement would be worth approximately $76 billion over 11 years. The current deal, which expires after the 2024/25 season, was worth about $24 billion over nine years, Reynolds notes.

We tend to do long-term deals,” Silver said. “We think that’s good for the stability of the league. But it means to a certain extent you’re trying to predict the future, which is of course impossible. Part of it is a bet on the partners that we’ll ultimately align with and their ability also to adjust the times and their willingness to continue to invest in media and to become global, which is very important to the league as well.”

Here’s more from Silver’s press conference:

  • Silver apologized to TNT employees affected by the media rights negotiations. “I will say directly from me (to) the people that seem to be most impacted right now — the folks at Turner Sports — I apologize that this has been a prolonged process,” Silver said, per Sam Amick of The Athletic. “I know that they’re committed to their jobs. … No one likes this uncertainty. And I think it’s on the league office to bring these negotiations to a head and conclude them as quickly as we can.” Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports reported on Thursday that TNT was still negotiating with the league for a fourth, smaller package of games, but he characterized those efforts as a “long shot.”
  • Silver said that the NBA will be focused on exploring the viability of expansion once the media rights talks conclude, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “It’s not preordained that we will expand this time, but I know there’s an enormous amount of interest out there,” Silver said. “And to me, yes, there are wealthy individuals, institutions that would like to invest and buy NBA teams, but I think it’s on the league to look holistically because there is the dilution, of course.” The “dilution” Silver was referring to was potentially adding another 36 players — two full teams — to the league’s player pool, McMenamin adds. “I feel great about where the talent is right now in the league, but those players have to come from somewhere,” Silver said.
  • While Seattle and Las Vegas have been frequently cited as the most likely cities for expansion, Silver also said the league was focused on finding markets that could optimally “grow the game” in the future, per McMenamin. “At some point, we’d like to look outside the United States, in addition to Canada,” Silver said. “This may not be the right moment to do that, but I’m thinking long term, as well.”
  • Silver also discussed the 65-game rule and the potential of automating certain in-game calls in the future, among other topics. Those quotes can be found in McMenamin’s article as well.

TNT Remains In Talks For Possible Fourth NBA Rights Package

The NBA appears to be nearing agreements on media rights deals with ESPN/ABC, NBC, and Amazon, but the league hasn’t yet closed the door on its longtime partnership with TNT Sports.

According to Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports, Warner Bros. Discovery (TNT’s parent company) is in talks with the NBA about a possible fourth rights package that would be smaller overall in terms of both total games and cost.

Those conversations are ongoing, so it’s unclear where the games for that potential fourth package would come from. McCarthy suggests it could feature both regular season and playoff games, which would likely mean taking games from one or more of the ESPN/ABC, NBC, and Amazon packages. Another scenario, McCarthy writes, would be for the league to set aside games that would typically be locally televised and turn them into national games for TNT.

McCarthy characterizes WBD’s efforts as a “long shot,” but outlines several reasons why a fourth media rights package with TNT could make sense for the NBA:

  • It would allow the league to continue its 40-year relationship with Turner Sports, which has been a reliable broadcast partner for decades.
  • It would pave the way for TNT to continue operating NBA TV and NBA.com on behalf of the league.
  • It would allow for the ongoing survival of TNT’s popular “Inside the NBA” studio show, featuring Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Shaquille O’Neal.
  • Paying less money for a smaller package may appeal to Warner Bros. Discovery, which is dealing with $40 billion in debt and whose CEO David Zaslav has talked about not wanting to overpay for the NBA.

If TNT and the NBA can’t come to terms on a fourth package, Warner Bros. Discovery believes it would still have the right to match the NBC or Amazon deals. However, previous reporting has suggested the league would argue TNT can’t simply match NBC’s bid dollar-for-dollar since TNT lacks the over-the-air broadcast infrastructure that NBC can offer. The league may also push back on the idea that TNT can match Amazon’s bid, since it’s a new third package of games.

If TNT attempts to match one of those offers and the NBA rejects the bid, the issue could end up in court, McCarthy notes.

The current NBA media rights deal, which features just two partners (ESPN/ABC and TNT), will expire after the 2024/25 season, with the new agreements going into effect for ’25/26.

And-Ones: Media Rights, J. Porter, Voigt, Injuries, FAs

The NBA continues to move closer to finalizing a media rights deal with ABC/ESPN, NBC, and Amazon, according to Joe Flint, Amol Sharma, and Isabella Simonetti of The Wall Street Journal (subscription required; hat tip to RealGM), who say the new agreement would be worth approximately $76 billion over 11 years. That would make it over three times more lucrative than the league’s previous deal with ABC/ESPN and TNT, which was worth $24 billion across 11 years.

As we previously detailed, the ESPN/ABC deal is being referred to as the “A” package of games and will be worth about $2.6 billion per year, while NBC will get the “B” package, worth approximately $2.5 billion annually, and Amazon’s “C” package will be worth $1.8 billion per year.

According to the Wall Street Journal’s report, TNT Sports could have retained that “B” package earlier in negotiations if it had been willing to pay $2.2 billion per year. However, Warner Bros. Discovery reportedly felt that price was too high for what it was getting, given that it would lose playoff and play-in tournament games to Amazon.

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

  • A court complaint filed in New York this week alleges that former Raptors forward Jontay Porter owed “significant gambling debts” and agreed to settle them by exiting a January 26 game early, citing an injury, ensuring that the “under” prop bets on his statistical benchmarks for that contest would all hit. Jennifer Peltz of The Associated Press has many more details on the case, which has resulted in criminal charges for one conspirator so far. Federal prosecutors declined to comment on whether Porter – who was banned from the NBA for gambling violations – is under investigation.
  • After serving as the head coach for the Austin Spurs – San Antonio’s G League affiliate – last season, Will Voigt is joining the BYU coaching staff as an assistant under new head coach Kevin Young, as reported by Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). The Cougars have put out a press release confirming the hire.
  • Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic explores the potential cause of the uptick in injuries leading up to and during this year’s postseason, getting feedback from team executives who cited multiple possible factors, including a compressed second-half schedule (due in part to the in-season tournament) and a midseason adjustment in how fouls were being called.
  • Keith Smith of Spotrac ranks the top small forwards in the 2024 free agent class, starting with Paul George, DeMar DeRozan, and OG Anunoby.

And-Ones: Fan Favorites, Media Deal, Bacon, Shooting Guards

The votes have been tallied for league appreciators’ “Fan Favorites” for the 2023/24 season, per NBA.com. Fans voted for various categories via the NBA App, NBA.com and the @NBA handle on social media.

All-Star Timberwolves shooting guard Anthony Edwards won Block, Dunk and Photo of the Year honors, while Bulls swingman DeMar DeRozan won Assist of the Year, All-NBA Thunder point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was honored with the Style of the Year accolade, and Mavericks point guard Kyrie Irving was praised for possessing the Handle of the Year.

There’s more from around the wider basketball world:

  • NBA players stand to reap major financial benefits from the league’s lucrative impending batch of media rights deals, writes Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. As Vorkunov notes, based on the terms reported, the agreement is set to pay the league $6.9 billion annually, which is about two-and-a-half times what the league is earning under its present TV deal. Suddenly, a $100MM maximum annual player salary is in play, and could possibly happen as soon as 2032/33.
  • Following a prolific season with Shanghai Dongfang in Chinese Basketball Association, former journeyman NBA guard Dwayne Bacon  has agreed to a deal with Puerto Rican team Leones de Ponce, according to Dario Skerletic of Sportando. Bacon spent four years in the NBA, last playing for the Magic in 2020/21.
  • Keith Smith of Spotrac unpacks the top free agent shooting guards set to hit the market this summer in a new tiered ranking system. He lists seven starting-caliber wings, 17 rotation-level players, and 25 other players with upside at the position.

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.

Latest On NBA’s Media Rights Negotiations

The NBA is expected to formalize written contracts this week with Disney (ESPN/ABC), NBC, and Amazon for their media rights, according to Tom Friend of Sports Business Journal, who provides the following tentative details on the three deals:

  • ESPN/ABC (“A” package): $2.8 billion per year; likely to include NBA Finals, one conference final, weekly prime-time games, the WNBA, and shared international rights.
  • NBC (“B” package): $2.6 billion per year; likely to include “Basketball Night in America” on Sundays, two prime-time windows per week, conference semifinals, and one conference final.
  • Amazon (“C” package): $1.8-2 billion per year; likely to include the in-season tournament, the play-in tournament, first-round playoff games, the WNBA, and shared international rights.

The parties are in the process of tweaking their agreements, says Friend, explaining that once the terms are finalized, the networks will take them to their respective boards to have the bids ratified. At that point, the NBA is expected to circle back to longtime television partner Warner Bros. Discovery (TNT Sports) to see if WBD wants to exercise its matching rights on NBC’s offer.

According to Friend, the expectation is that the NBA will argue that TNT doesn’t have the right to simply match NBC’s bid from a dollar-for-dollar perspective, since TNT lacks the over-the-air broadcast infrastructure that NBC can offer. Previous reporting stated that the league would want at least $300MM more from Warner Bros. Discovery for the same package of games that NBC is bidding on.

As Friend details, if Warner Bros. Discovery doesn’t want to lose the NBA and isn’t willing to pay that added cost for the “B” package, the company could take the NBA to court and contest the league’s definition of what constitutes a matching offer. Sources tell the Sports Business Journal that the NBA is preparing its lawyers for a potential inquisition or lawsuit.

Disney was more proactive than WBD during the exclusive negotiating window that ESPN/ABC and TNT Sports were afforded earlier this year, per Friend, increasing its offer to $2.8 billion per year after paying $1.4 billion in its last deal with the NBA.

WBD, meanwhile, believed it would only have to bump its offer from $1.2 billion in the previous media deal to about $1.8-2.1 billion this time around, according to Friend, who says that’s a key reason why the NBA took that package of games to the open marketplace and found a more appealing offer from NBC.

The league’s current media rights deal will expire after the 2024/25 season, with the new agreement taking effect in ’25/26.

And-Ones: RSNs, Kerr, Curry, 2024 FAs, Media Rights, More

Speaking in court on Wednesday, lawyers for the NBA, MLB, and NHL aimed “pointed criticism” at Diamond Sports Group and expressed skepticism about the company’s ability to produce a viable business plan to emerge from bankruptcy, according to reports from Evan Drellich of The Athletic and Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.

Diamond, which controls the “Bally Sports”-branded regional sports networks, has yet to reach a new agreement with Comcast, its third-largest distributor, following the expiration of their previous contract, prompting Comcast to pull the Bally networks off the air earlier this month. Diamond will also need to make a new linear cable and digital rights deal with the NBA after its previous contract expired. Fifteen NBA teams aired their games locally on Bally Sports networks last season.

“We simply cannot afford to have our next season disrupted by the uncertainty as to whether Diamond will or will not have a viable business,” NBA attorney Vincent Indelicato said on Wednesday.

A confirmation hearing is scheduled for June 18. If the hearing isn’t postponed, the court will decide at that time whether to approve Diamond’s restructuring plan.

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

  • A pair of Warriors were honored by the Professional Basketball Writers Association this week (Twitter links). Head coach Steve Kerr received this season’s Rudy Tomjanovich Award, which is related to a coach’s “cooperation with the media and fans,” while star guard Stephen Curry won the Magic Johnson Award, given to the player who “best combines excellence on the court with cooperation and grace in dealing with the media and fans.”
  • Frank Urbina and Raul Barrigon of HoopsHype have ranked this summer’s free agents by position. James Harden tops the list of point guards, with Tyrese Maxey (shooting guards), Paul George (small forwards), Pascal Siakam (power forwards), and Nic Claxton (centers) also at No. 1 for their respective positions.
  • Ben Koo of Awful Announcing rounds up a handful of reports from various outlets breaking down where things stand in the NBA’s media rights negotiations. As Koo outlines, Warner Bros. Discovery (TNT Sports) has reportedly sought to exercise its matching rights on reported bids by NBC ($2.5 billion) and Amazon ($1.8 billion), but the NBA isn’t recognizing those matching rights because Amazon’s package is a new one and NBC’s includes an over-the-air broadcast network. The league is said to be seeking $2.8 billion from TNT if it wants to match NBC’s offer and get the same package of games. Former Fox Sports Networks president Bob Thompson provides a few more details (via Twitter).
  • In an in-depth story for The Ringer, Mirin Fader checks in on the NBA’s female coaching pipeline and considers whether the league is any closer to getting its first female head coach.
  • In the wake of the Jontay Porter betting scandal, David Purdum of ESPN explores how the NBA and other major sports leagues are pushing for U.S. sportsbooks to tweak the betting options and limits they offer, especially for specific players.

And-Ones: Towns, Media Rights, California Classic, Howard

Timberwolves forward/center Karl-Anthony Towns has been named the NBA’s Social Justice Champion for the 2023/24 season, the league announced in a press release.

The four-time All-Star is a voting rights advocate and supported Minnesota’s Restore the Vote bill last year, which “restores the right to vote to thousands of formerly incarcerated individuals.” Towns also advocates for changes to the criminal justice and education systems in the U.S.

Heat center Bam Adebayo, Pelicans guard CJ McCollum, Thunder wing Lindy Waters and Clippers guard Russell Westbrook were the other finalists.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • On an earnings call, TNT (Warner Bros. Discovery) CEO David Zaslav was cautiously optimistic about retaining media rights to NBA games, per Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. “We’ve had a lot of time to prepare for this negotiation, and we have strategies in place for the various potential outcomes,” Zaslav said. “However, now is not the time to discuss any of this since we are in active negotiations with the league. And under our current deal with the NBA, we have matching rights that allow us to match third-party offers before the NBA enters into an agreement with them.”
  • Zaslav’s comments came on the heels of various reports saying NBC has submitted a $2.5 billion bid to be the league’s third media rights partner, joining ESPN/ABC (Disney) and Amazon, which already have framework deals in place. According to Tom Friend of Sports Business Journal, NBC is still viewed as the frontrunner, ahead of TNT.
  • The 2024 California Classic will be co-hosted by the Kings and Warriors, as Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee relays. California’s Summer League – a prelude to Las Vegas Summer League – will take place from July 6-10 and will feature 12 total games. The Kings, Hornets and Spurs will play in Sacramento and the Warriors, Lakers and Heat will play in San Francisco. Sacramento will head to the Chase Center to face Golden State on July 10 to wrap up the event, Anderson writes.
  • Former NBA guard Markus Howard was granted permission to play for Puerto Rico ahead of the country’s Olympic qualifying tournament this summer, the federation announced in a press release. The former Marquette star led the EuroLeague in scoring while playing for Spain’s Baskonia this season, BasketNews notes. “We are very happy to welcome Markus to our national team,” said Carlos Arroyo, general manager of Puerto Rico’s national team. “Markus has become one of the best players in Europe, and for us, it is a luxury to have him. His offensive level will raise the expectations of our team.”

And-Ones: Nunn, Ojeleye, Media Rights, Carter-Williams

After making the move from the NBA to Europe in 2023, Kendrick Nunn has had a big year with Panathinaikos in Greece. In 45 total games in the Greek League and EuroLeague, the veteran guard has averaged 14.2 points, 3.4 assists, and 2.5 rebounds in 25.0 minutes per game, posting an impressive shooting line of .464/.421/.988. Nunn’s squad has won 21 of 22 Greek League games and ranks second in the EuroLeague with a 23-11 record.

Nunn’s impressive performance earned him a longer-term commitment from Panathinaikos, who have signed the former Heat, Lakers, and Wizards guard to a two-year extension through 2025/26.

The new deal, which was confirmed by Panathinaikos team owner Dimitris Giannakopoulos on Instagram, features NBA outs this year and next year, according to Stavros Barbarousis of Eurohoops, so Nunn will have a window to potentially return stateside if the right opportunity arises. Assuming he plays out the contract, he’ll earn about five million Euros across the next two seasons, per Barbarousis.

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

  • Another former NBA player, forward Semi Ojeleye, has finalized an extension with his European team, signing a new two-year deal with Valencia Basket, the Spanish team announced in a press release. Ojeleye, who appeared in 284 games for the Celtics, Bucks, and Clippers from 2017-22, played in Italy in 2022/23 before heading to Spain, where he has averaged 13.3 PPG and 4.4 RPG on .493/.471/.869 shooting in 27 EuroLeague contests for Valencia.
  • Andrew Marchand of The Athletic provides an update on the NBA’s media rights negotiations, reporting that ESPN/ABC is expected to pay $2.6 billion per season to retain its broadcast rights to the league, while Amazon Prime Video will buy in at a rate of about $1.8 billion per year. With NBC hoping to replace TNT as an NBA partner and aggressively pursuing a deal believed to be in the range of $2.5MM annually, the league’s total media deal could be worth nearly $7 billion per season, a significant leap from its previous agreement, which was worth about $2.7 billion per year.
  • Writing for The Players’ Tribune, veteran NBA guard Michael Carter-Williams explores the challenges that injuries, anxiety, and depression have posed thus far in his playing career and explains why he’s in a good place now, even though he has appeared in just four NBA games over the last three seasons.