When Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby spoke about the vacant general manager position, he made the most talked-about interested party sound like one of the more far-fetched possibilities. Charles Barkley, a Suns Ring of Honor member, has said repeatedly in recent years that he needs a new challenge after 14 years of broadcast analysis for TNT and that becoming a GM would be that challenge. When he returned to US Airways Center for a game this season, he reiterated those feelings while criticizing the Suns’ management. Now that the Suns’ GM job came open this week, the more likely GM candidates are names that are largely to the general fan – Milwaukee assistant GM Jeff Weltman and former Indiana GM David Morway, for examples. But Barkley is interested, but not desperate for the job. Barkley has not been contacted by the Suns he did talk Wednesday on Brad Cesmat’s “Pros 2 Preps” show (KGME-AM) and addressed the topic in his usual candid way. For the audio, listen here. On Babby’s comment that Barkley might not want to do the “rowing” that the job requires: “Trust me, the people who have been rowing the boat, they’ve been rowing the Titanic, just for the record. 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’ve had a couple opportunities that wasn’t very good. I mean I’m not going to give up a great job unless I get what I want. I’m in the driver’s seat. I don’t need their job. I want to be a GM. But the notion that I can’t do better than what they’re doing is ridiculous. Brad, just for the record, you could probably do a better job.” On whether he is serious about becoming a GM: “I’ve talked openly the last couple years about wanting to be a GM. I didn’t even know the suns job was going to be open so it has nothing to do with that. Listen, I know my basketball. I know my players. That’s what the job is about. The Suns have not made good draft picks. Whoever you want to blame, you could just blame all of the above because they have not made good draft picks. The two best players on the roster are Goran Dragic and Marcin Gortat. I like both of those players. I like both of those players a lot. But to say the rest, the jury is still out, would be an understatement. They need somebody in there who knows what they’re doing. I’m not going to beg them for a job. I’m not going to worry about it if I don’t get the job. Listen, the people who have been running that ship, crashed and burned it. They need somebody else who actually knows what they’re doing.” On how time-consuming a GM job is: “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. That’s what thing is about. Do I have to be there every day? Of course you have to be there every day. The Suns got to just do a better job of getting players. If you look at their roster, when was the last time they drafted a player – you could actually count … Dragic. They traded him away. When is the last time they drafted a player when you said, ‘OK, we’ve got a building block for the future.’ I can’t remember the last time they actually had a draft (pick like that). Like some of these teams in the NBA, they stink but you can at least say they have good young players. Like I look at Cleveland. Let’s take Cleveland for example. Kyrie Irving is an All-Star. Tristan Thompson played terrific this year. Even Orlando. Let’s take Orlando. (Nikola) Vucevic had a terrific year. The jury is still out on the kid from St. Johns (Moe Harkless). But Vucevic had a terrific year. I like them going forward. Their (the Suns’) two best players are older players. Dragic is an older player. He’s been in the league a while. Gortat has been in the league a while. The jury is still out on both of the Morrisses. They just have to start drafting better players, plain and simple.” On whether he is prepared to be a GM: “Actually being on television, that’s actually my job. All I do is watch NBA basketball. Now all I do is watch college basketball because of doing the March Madness. But my job on television is to evaluate every team and talk about it. That’s actually what a GM does. All he does is look at players and evaluate teams. Am I a general manager? No. But the notion that I don’t sit around and watch every basketball game or study every team, that’s absurd.” On whether he wants the Suns GM job: “I will listen to the job. I want to be a GM. I will listen to the job. I ain’t going to let anybody down there tell me about basketball. Let’s get that straight. Their track record ain’t that good. Their track record is not that good down there. I don’t know Lon Babby that well. And I don’t know Robert (Sarver) that well. Robert has always treated me good. But the notion that I would let Lon and Robert tell me about basketball players. That’s not going to happen. I can tell you that right now. Robert has treated me great and I don’t know Lon that well. But the notion that I would let them tell me who to draft and who to pick and who to trade, that’s not going to happen. I like my chances better. If they want to hire somebody they can control, who’s going to be a flunky, they’ve already did that once. They already did that once. I’ve had this same conversation and I’ve criticized Michael Jordan. If you’re just going to hire flunkies and you’re going to throw them under the bus when you make bad draft picks, I don’t want that job. The notion that Lance Blanks has been running the Suns organization, the notion that he’s been drafting these players and making trades, if they think I’m stupid enough or you’re stupid enough to believe that, if they think I’m going to put my name out there and let somebody make bad draft picks and then throw me under the bus, that’s not going to happen, bro. I promise you that.”
Charles Barkley discusses his interest in being Suns GM on radio
POSTED: 08:53 AM PDT Apr 25, 2013 UPDATED: 08:53 AM PDT Apr 25, 2013
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