"I want to commend the NBA," he said Wednesday, per Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News. "You know, these poor babies can't play back-to-back games."
He continued, per Sefko: "Making $30-, $40-million a year. But we want to make it convenient for them ... At $40M a year, we can't stress 'em out."
Joe Trahan of WFAA passed along video of the comments:
Joe Trahan @JoeTrahan
"You know these poor babies can't play back-to-back games." Charles Barkley rips the NBA changing the schedule. https://t.co/7YlPIpSiTg2017-9-20 19:29:45
The idea of extending the NBA season was to lessen the physical toll on players with fewer stretches of four games in five days and even back-to-backs, and Fox Sports Indiana shared a clip from last season where NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said, "That seven more days makes a big difference":
FOX Sports Indiana @FSIndiana
Commissioner Adam Silver on extending the NBA season by a week: "That seven more days makes a big difference." #GoPacers https://t.co/xNPseTnaEg2016-12-20 00:55:55
Resting healthy players became a topic of discussion and debate throughout the 2016-17 season, especially as teams such as the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors undertook the practice in marquee nationally televised contests.
There is naturally a balancing act because teams featuring players such as LeBron James and Kevin Durant figure to play deep into the postseason, and it is more important for their championship hopes they are fresh in late May than late December.
However, fans in road arenas don't always get the chance to see players like James and pay money for tickets to watch the stars. What's more, television networks pay the rights deals to broadcast games, and the television product is of higher quality when the star players are actually on the floor.
Silver sent a memo to league owners in March calling the practice of resting healthy stars "an extremely significant issue for our league," per Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com.
Barkley's comments come after Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today reported in August league owners were expected to approve rules that would punish teams for resting healthy players during the regular season.