Close your eyes, go back 30 years and try to imagine the great Charles Barkley in a Portland Trail Blazers jersey.
Can you picture it?
Well, that vision would have been a reality had Sir Charles had his way back in 1992.
Growing disgruntled with his situation with the 76ers, the future Hall of Famer was looking for greener pastures. His sights were set on Portland.
Portland had been to the finals two of the previous three seasons, but had lost both times. Barkley saw the talent in Portland and felt he could be the missing piece to the puzzle.
On The Lowe Post podcast with ESPN’s Zach Lowe on Tuesday, Barkley talked about his desire to play in Portland.
Portland was my first choice because Portland had enough talent to give up for me and we’d still be a contender. They had lost to the Bulls in the Finals, but they were loaded, man, top to bottom. But the one thing they didn’t have is a half-court game… I said I’d be the final piece to the puzzle. – Barkley on wanting to play in Portland
The Blazers decided to keep their pieces together and not trade for Barkley, which was probably a poor decision in hindsight.
The Blazers have yet to return to the NBA Finals, while Barkley would end up being traded to Phoenix and would lead the Suns to the Finals in 1993.
Like the Blazers the year before, Barkley and the Suns lost to the Bulls. It’s hard not to think about how well a pairing of Barkley and the Blazers core would have fared against the MJ dynasty.
The story does have another layer to it though.
That trip Barkley took to Portland to try to work out a trade cost the big man $1,197 dollars at the time, an amount he said the Blazers never reimbursed him for.. that was until 2018.
Barkley told the story on a Feb. 15, 2018 broadcast of the NBA on TNT.
Four days later, Damian Lillard crashed the set to present Barkley with a $1,197 check, courtesy of the Trail Blazers.
“I got so much respect for the Portland Trail Blazers, I’m not going to cash that check. I’m going to frame it.” — Charles Barkley. pic.twitter.com/VqERtwYzCN
— Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) February 19, 2018
Barkley played four years with the Suns after failing to be traded to Portland, and would end his Hall of Fame career as a member of the Houston Rockets.
Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.
Charles Barkley wanted to be traded to the Portland Trail Blazers originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest