Thursday, November 20, 2014
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Barkley running the Sixers? Don't hold your breath

Who’s next? Kenny Smith?

Barkley running the Sixers? Don't hold your breath

Charles Barkley said he has some level of interest in joining the Sixers´ front office. (AP Photo / Elise Amendola)
Charles Barkley said he has some level of interest in joining the Sixers' front office. (AP Photo / Elise Amendola)

Who’s next? Kenny Smith?

Or how about Ernie Johnson?

Now that Charles Barkley is notifying  folks via text that he’s interested in discussing the 76ers president/general manager job, why shouldn’t Smith and Johnson, the only two remaining members of TNT’s Inside The NBA crew not yet to have their names mentioned in connection with an NBA front office job, throw their names in the hat?

Apologies to Craig Sager. Maybe next year.

Barkley, the Emmy award winning broadcaster and former Sixers great, texted “Yes sir” in response to a text from 94WIP’s Anthony Gargano asking Barkley if he would be interested in being the team’s GM. 

Last month Shaquille O’Neal, who like Barkley has never had any experience running the day -to-day operations of an NBA franchise, had his name mentioned as a potential candidate for the Orlando Magic GM job. O’Neal later denied the report and added that he hoped to spend many more “years with Charles, Kenny and E.J. [Johnson].

Barkley signed a multi-year extension to stay on with TNT in February, and it’s doubtful that the former Sixer really wants to leave that world for the dog-eat-dog world of the NBA. And as good as the chemistry is on that show, I’m pretty sure that the rest of the NBA watching public hopes he stays there as well.

Who knows if this is just another instance of “Charles being Charles?” Remember, Barkley is good for throwing this kind of stuff to see what kind of reaction he’ll get. It wasn’t that long ago that Barkley was doing the late-night talk circuit telling anyone who would listen that he was going to one day run for governor in Alabama.

Turns out that was nothing more than Barkley musings.

However, Barkley has often said that he could run an NBA franchise better than those already charged with the job.  And from what we’ve seen from some of these guys with experience, who is to argue with him?

If Danny Ferry can be the leading candidate to replace Rod Thorn as the Sixers GM or president – what the next guy’s role will be still seems a little murky right now – who is to suggest that Barkley couldn’t step in and be just as competent?

Let’s not forget that Ferry got mixed reviews in that role when in Cleveland as the GM he surrounded LeBron James with Mo Williams, O'Neal, Anthony Parker, Leon Powe,  Antawn Jamison and Zydr┼źnas Ilgauskas. Those moves didn’t produce the results that James was looking for and probably helped make his decision to take his talents to South Beach.

From a marketing standpoint it would be great. Barkley is Hall of Famer and one of the five greatest players in the franchise’s history. Sixers coach Doug Collins has the team heading in the right direction and the front office loves him – he’ll probably be getting a contract extension very soon.

But the biggest reason why this could never happen is that Barkley’s personality is just too large. He could never come back to Philly and be in the reduced role that it is believed the next general manager will assume here. 

Barkley wouldn’t take this job without full control, something he would never get. And if it’s true that Collins won a power struggle with Rod Thorn – which Thorn denies – there is no possible way Barkley comes in here and plays second fiddle to Collins or anyone else.

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About this blog

Keith Pompey has been an Inquirer reporter since September 2004 and took over the Sixers beat in the summer of 2013 after covering Temple basketball and football for the previous three years.

Marc Narducci has served in a variety of roles with the Inquirer since beginning in 1983. He has covered the 76ers as a backup and a beat writer. In addition, Narducci has covered everything from the Super Bowl to the World Series and a lot in between.

Keith Pompey Inquirer Staff Writer
Marc Narducci Inquirer Columnist
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