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Charles Barkley thinks the NBA has never been worse; wants to meet Bruce Arians

FILE - In this Feb. 4, 2010 file photo, basketball analysts Kenny Smith, left, and Charles Barkley are shown on the set at TNT studios in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Erik S. Lesser, File)

LISTEN: Charles Barkley, TNT NBA analyst

Man of opinion Charles Barkley believes the NBA has never been worse.

Hear him out and put aside the assumption the former Phoenix Suns star and current TNT analyst is being ageist, and there is sense to it. Look no further than the Eastern Conference playoffs, where the Cleveland Cavaliers remains loss-less through two-plus rounds and 10 postseason games.

“People think us old guys hate when we talk about it,” Barkley told Bickley and Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “It has nothing to do with the Warriors’ greatness, LeBron’s greatness. But I’ve never seen the NBA as bad as it is, and I’ve been saying it the last three or four years. We’ve got too many young players coming out of college that don’t know how to play. It’s frustrating for me because I want to see competitive basketball.

“We took a survey on our crew … How many actual NBA teams would you buy season tickets for?” he added. “Four in the west and Cleveland obviously in the east. That’s not good for our league.”

From a hotel overlooking a Las Vegas pool, Barkley said he believes this offseason could set the tone for the league’s future success or failure.

With an exploding salary cap giving many teams the ability to spend, Barkley doesn’t want to see superteams form, further watering down an NBA of five elite teams and few others.

“There’s no chance at parity,” Barkley said. “This summer is going to be, to be honest with you, basically do or die for the NBA. Everybody can pay everybody this summer. If all these guys get together and we have five good teams and the rest of the teams are awful, it’s going to be a bad product.

“Fans aren’t stupid.”

He said it

“I’m a big Cardinals fan. I love Larry Fitzgerald and one of my best friends is (former Cardinals receiver) Roy Green, and Roy Green is not an important enough … I’ve been trying to meet Bruce Arians for like the last year. And I don’t like to bother him during the season. Bruce Arians seems like a guy, you know I love to smoke cigars — and I love to drink too — I would love to go out and have a drink and smoke a cigar with B.A. I’ve been watching from a distance the last few years and he just seems like the best guy. I talk to Larry Fitzgerald all the time and he’s like, ‘Dude, you’re going to love B.A. You’re going to love B.A. when you get to meet him.’ Roy Green is the only person I know with the Cardinals and he’s not important enough to get me a sit-down with B.A.”

— Charles Barkley on his desire to meet Bruce Arians (17:01)

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