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Charles Barkley as Suns GM? Will not happen. They can’t afford him.

Apr 25, 2013, 11:54 AM EDT

Charles Barkley AP

Do you think Charles Barkley would have been good as the governor of Alabama? He once talked about running, but do you think he would have done well in a world where he needed to be diplomatic, to compromise and to be detail oriented? Does Barkley strike you as the kind of guy who would take a steep pay cut to take on way more work?

So what makes you think he’d make a good general manager in Phoenix?

Barkley has talked about that again. The Suns have fired Lance Blanks and need a GM, and Barkley wants to throw his hat in the ring. Here are Barkley’s own words from an Arizona radio interview transcribed by the Arizona Republic.

“The Suns are the Titanic. So the notion that I can’t do better than them is ridiculous. The Suns stink. So whoever has been rowing the boat has just done a horrific job so let’s just get that straight and out of the way. I made it perfectly clear that I’m going to be a GM. The Suns know my number. They know that I want to be a GM….

“I don’t believe it’s a 24-7 job. You draft your players. You have your team. How many trades do you make during the season? You might make a trade. But most of the good teams don’t make a lot of trades during the season. Do you have to be there every day? Of course you have to be there every day. But you have to have a good supporting staff as far as going out scouting players. Listen, this thing is about players. It ain’t about the general manager. It’s about the general manager who is picking players….

“Obviously, I’m probably going to have to take a pay cut. But, listen, dude, I’m not overly concerned about money at this stage of my life. I’ve been very blessed.”

Paul Coro at the Arizona Republic is rightfully dismissive of the idea, as was team president Lon Babby, after listing the guys the Suns actually talked to.

The GM search began this week with the Suns considering Milwaukee assistant GM Jeff Weltman (a finalist in 2010 when Blanks was hired), former Indiana Pacers GM and Arizona graduate David Morway and former Lakers assistant GM Ronnie Lester. Assistant GMs Ryan McDonough (Boston), Wes Wilcox (Atlanta) and Troy Weaver (Oklahoma City) are potential candidates too…

Charles Barkley talks about becoming a GM like he once spoke of becoming Alabama governor, but the Suns likely would not approach the TNT salary paid to Barkley, who is in the Suns’ Ring of Honor.

“I think the job requires rowing the boat every single day and it’s an all-consuming job and my impression is that he has a pretty full and good life,” Babby said. “Taking on a challenge like this might be something he really doesn’t want if he knew what it entails.”

Despite what Barkley says, I think it’s about the money.

Suns owner Robert Sarver is notoriously cheap with his franchise. Well, that’s how you view it as a fan, but the man stays within the budget he has for the team. No matter what. So first off, while Charles Barkley’s salary is not public he is one of the big draws on TNT, a big personality, and you can be sure he gets paid accordingly. Way more than other GMs around the league.

However the money issue is not just about salary. What happens the first time Barkley really wants to spend on a free agent, or to go into the luxury tax to re-sign a player on the roster, and Sarver laughs him out of the office? To win with the budget constraints in Phoenix will take a smart and clever GM willing to work very hard.

Bottom line to me: Does Barkley strike you as the kind of guy who would take a serious pay cut to take on more work?

This is kind of a fan fantasy, because Barkley would likely run the team like a lot of fans. Heck, most fans can remember players’ names better than Barkley seems to. I love Barkley around the NBA, but this would not be a good fit.

  1. Kevin S. - Apr 25, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    “I’ve seen what the governor makes. That’s like four hands of blackjack.”

    • drunkenjunk - Apr 25, 2013 at 12:40 PM

      lol, sounds like charles. i love him on nba tonight, i don’t ever want him to leave.

  2. sportsnut101 - Apr 25, 2013 at 12:11 PM

    Can’t do any worse

  3. misterdreamer119 - Apr 25, 2013 at 12:14 PM

    Chuck is the man.

  4. thomaskouns - Apr 25, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    I love Charles as a analyst and him being GM woulds be great theater but being a great GM requires major hour and dedication:
    – watching hundreds and hundreds of hours of college and game film
    – constantly being in contact with other GM’s ands assessing all possibilities even though most go nowhere as you need to be prepared when theevrightbsituation arises
    – understand all contract and cap dynamics
    – managing full time scouting department
    – spending time oversees scouting
    – pouring over players stars & analysis
    – numerous other things

    People think that if someone has a big name and are great ‘on-air’ they must be a great GM. Most great players don’t make good GM’s.

    Jerry West arguably the best GM ever would spend a minimum of 60 hrs a week in the job at that was the minimum. You really think Charles will even make 30 hrs. Pleasseeee. This is a guy for even how great he is on TNT is not not to ever sit in thee per- prodsuction meetings an hour before airtime.

  5. adoombray - Apr 25, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    Suns fans have already been through a former all time great player / TV guy as GM. His name was Steve Kerr. Steve Kerr gutted 7 seconds or less and is as much responsible for the decline of the team as Robert Sarver is. Suns fans can barely listen to him call a game without getting angry about it. We’re cool with Barkley where he is, the most entertaining studio guy for any sport.

  6. emosnar - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    Every person on this comment string including the author down to the owners, radio personalities in Phoenix are D.U.M.B. You guys do not know ANYTHING ABOUT BASKETBALL. The Charles Barkley era was the greatest moment the Phoenix suns ever had and somehow you are prone to dismiss and diss this great talent???

    “Do you think he would have done well in a world where he needed to be diplomatic?…”

    Uh.. YEAH. He is not one of the well like sports personalities for nothing. I think his personality lends credence to a warm guy who can be diplomatic and we also know he can be a straight talker which is also needed. Don’t deny he has a great basketball mind and understands today’s players and can communicate effectively with them.

    “Can he compromise and to be detail oriented?”

    Lets find out before judging. Even he said you need a great staff so I’m sure paying attention to detail was one thing on his mind when he made that comment. What evidence do you have to support that he can’t do any compromising and focus on the details? We all know the execs and people currently or previously in the Suns employ have done such a great job paying attention to detail thus far.

    “Does Barkley strike you as the kind of guy who would take a steep pay cut to take on way more work?”

    The guys said it wasn’t about money. He lives a good life. Take the mans word for it.

    The bias of this man is nauseating; after all the great years he gave your city. He is a capable GM as any and he will find a home if and when he wants to. AZ should be kissing this guys ass to be a part of the organization.

    The problem is POOR OWNERSHIP period. No matter how stingy Sarver wants to be with his budget, he still hasn’t been able to make that budget effectively work on the court, and also has not found a GM that can work with numbers like that. Barkley is not Steve Kerr (What GM skills did he have?; being Jordan’s teammate should have knocked him out of the management running in the first place).

    Charles Barkley will make a excellent GM. You guys are just ignorant. GO PACERS!!!!

    • emosnar - Apr 27, 2013 at 5:54 PM

      Shout out to shanson2013 a real basketball fan. . .

      “Being controversial or speaking your mind should not be a detriment to getting the job. Someone needs to speak their mind with todays players. Everyone of them thinks they are a star. The Suns have too many players who are stars in their own mind and dead weight on the court. Experience as a GM? How much experience did Sarver have with basketball prior to buying Suns? Babby? He negotiated contracts from the other side. In other words, they both had none. Colangelo – lived basketball – like Barkley. All of these great, critical minds need to think back, even as far as when Charles was playing. He told the Suns not to gut the team letting Majerle go and they did and the Suns slid. He said the Suns could not win the big one with 7 seconds or less without defense. They could not. He said 2 years ago the Suns were going in wrong direction, slipping fast. They have. In beginning of year when our Brass was talking playoffs Barkley said they don’t have the players. They didn’t and don’t. I was facinated at his analysis of players and teams during March Madness. And 99% of what he said was dead on. His insight into the game is without question. He is my choice and for me it is the last chance for the Suns to keep me as a fan. I was at their first game as a franchise and have watched them for over 40 years either in attendance or on TV for about 3000 games until the last three years. Now I cannot stomach what I see.”

  7. emosnar - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    Lastly. What indication has Barkley gave you to show he isn’t a hard worker? Looks like he was putting in extra work during the NCAA tournament last month. I guess those defensive rebounds that use to end in fast break two-handed tomahawk dunks back in the day were indicative of someone doesn’t work hard. I don’t think you can be from Alabama and be lazy; think that’s an oxymoron . . you morons.

    Being closed minded will keep your Suns in last place. And your Cardinals in mediocrity for that matter too!

    • adoombray - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:53 PM

      Yeah, calling people morons for being realistic about a guy that has had 0 front office or coaching experience is the way to be open minded. Chuck is best running his mouth. GM’s have to be able to smokescreen and BS. I don’t think that Sir Charles has ever kept his mouth shut about anything ever which is evident by how much he loses gambling. :P

      Phoenix has two of the worst owners in sports, Sarver and Bidwell, they are businessmen who make alot of money and do not even pretend to put the best product in the field. As a 30 year Phoenix resident, let me tell you something my insulting friend, if you are saying that Bidwell cares more about winning than someone else, that’s about as insulting as it gets.

      • badintent - Apr 26, 2013 at 1:46 AM

        Charles pissed away (lost) millions in casinos and then said “he doesn’t have a gambling problem ,only a bad habit” When he’s not insulting Ernie for not being a former pro jock, he throws players and coaches in front of the bus enough times to be a serial killer. I love when Shaq tells him he has what Chucky don’t.
        A ring. . Then Chucks shuts his mouth for the only time in his life.He couldn’t even shut his piehole about his Weight watchers contract.
        Moron=Barkley.

    • thomaskouns - Apr 25, 2013 at 3:56 PM

      What indication has he given you that he’d be a great, good or even average GM? Would you have said 10 years ago Jordan should be a great owner too simply because he was a brilliant player?

  8. katra2logic - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    I wish Steve Kerr had succeeded in management, he is a total bore as an analyst and comically blind to his bias for SA and Chicago (his previous teams).

    • Kurt Helin - Apr 26, 2013 at 12:28 AM

      Well, Doug Collins is available to get his old job back.

  9. bux1022 - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    Steve a Kerr a great player? Enough said!

  10. bux1022 - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    @ thomaskouns

    How long did it take you to write all that bs? There are many cogs to the front office machine. Starting most importantly with the assistant GM, first and foremost. Don’t have the time to refute all of the bs you typed. However there are many pieces involved in the process you attempted to detail.

  11. iowahbr - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:49 PM

    I don’t think it would be a good fit for the much the same reason that the fans like him so much : he is always honest on his opinion and I don’t think that would work as well for a GM as it does for a TV analyst. Honesty and players and agents with big egos sounds like a toxic mix.

  12. eugenesaxe - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    He wants to be governor, he wants to be GM. Hasn’t he ever heard of working your way up, or is he just the standard entitled athlete who waltzes into anything he wants?

    • badintent - Apr 26, 2013 at 1:49 AM

      he’s qualified to pick up garbage, he throws plently of it around out of his mouth.
      Ball don’t Lie

  13. kwells44 - Apr 25, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    The number of females working for NBA teams would go way up.

  14. shanson2013 - Apr 25, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    I disagree with those who feel he would not make a good GM. 1. Charles knows basketball and how to have success in the support. 2. Charles is well liked in the NBA community 3. Extremely bright business and street wise. 4. For those who feel he is not a hard enough worker, you are clueless. Read his autobiography. He got where he is by working harder than the rest. If you think hard work and dedication is not needed to achieve his status while being shorter than those he competed against – wrong. Hard work, dedication and heart. 5. He is a Phoenix Sun and resident. Babby, you want to honor those who were Suns in one breath and then dismiss them in the next. 6. And final, Barkley could still beat 80% of the current team in one-on-one. He would out smart them, out work them, out skill them, and most of all, out heart them.

    Other former Suns who should be considered for GM or Head Coach – Jeff Hornacek, Alvin Adams, Mark West, Eddie Johnson. 2 more who should be on this list but due to lack of interest from the team they sweated for – Thunder Dan (funny, Jerry thought him worthy. You think Jerry was smarter than Sarver? No brainer). Grant Hill (anyone want to question his smarts, skills, desire, connections in NBA, business sense?)

  15. jimeejohnson - Apr 25, 2013 at 8:38 PM

    Charles is from the Chris Christie mold: just say whatever and worry about it never!

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 25, 2013 at 8:39 PM

      That’s a good thing, ok!

  16. michaeljordanseviltwin - Apr 25, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    This would be a bad move for the Suns. Charles is excellent on Inside The NBA but you can’t trust his basketball opinions. He has said all season how the Knicks & Warriors can’t rely on 3-point shots, the Clippers half court offense can’t get it done, and that the Lakers won’t make the playoffs. Turns out that the 3-point shot is actually a pretty efficient & reliable shot for the right teams and from the right spots on the floor. The Clippers half court offense (aka Chris Paul) just won Game 2 of a big playoff series and the Lakers nabbed a 7-seed.

    Charles Barkley is a great guy for calling out bullcrap and entertaining crowds but you’ll never hear him cite an advanced stat like how the Clippers offense ranked 4th in points per possession. He would not make a good general manager.

  17. seattlenative57 - Apr 26, 2013 at 2:29 AM

    I don’t care what team he becomes GM of, I’m moving to that city as soon as he takes over. The guy is a brilliant basketball mind. He may be controversial but he knows what he talks about. And he’s usually right. He knows basketball talent. Even as a player he upset a lot of people. But along the way, his views usually prevailed over the long haul. He’s a gifted leader who would enhance any organization that chooses him as their GM. Personally, I can’t wait.

    • shanson2013 - Apr 26, 2013 at 12:15 PM

      Being controversial or speaking your mind should not be a detriment to getting the job. Someone needs to speak their mind with todays players. Everyone of them thinks they are a star. The Suns have too many players who are stars in their own mind and dead weight on the court. Experience as a GM? How much experience did Sarver have with basketball prior to buying Suns? Babby? He negotiated contracts from the other side. In other words, they both had none. Colangelo – lived basketball – like Barkley. All of these great, critical minds need to think back, even as far as when Charles was playing. He told the Suns not to gut the team letting Majerle go and they did and the Suns slid. He said the Suns could not win the big one with 7 seconds or less without defense. They could not. He said 2 years ago the Suns were going in wrong direction, slipping fast. They have. In beginning of year when our Brass was talking playoffs Barkley said they don’t have the players. They didn’t and don’t. I was facinated at his analysis of players and teams during March Madness. And 99% of what he said was dead on. His insight into the game is without question. He is my choice and for me it is the last chance for the Suns to keep me as a fan. I was at their first game as a franchise and have watched them for over 40 years either in attendance or on TV for about 3000 games until the last three years. Now I cannot stomach what I see.

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