Smith said he preferred a 55-game season. “So you would still have some type lapse in between games and not be playing as many three games in three nights, five in six.”
O'Neal said he was comfortable with the quick turnaround after reaching the labor agreement. He particularly liked the rush of trades and player signings in the past week. “Like the TNT slogan,” he said, “we love drama.”
The Oklahoma City Thunder will make the first of six TNT appearances on Dec. 29 when they host the defending champion Dallas Mavericks. Barkley ducked a question by Johnson on whether he would make a trip to Oklahoma City as he had promised a few years ago.
“I should go there and play defense because Oklahoma State or Oklahoma, they can't stop anybody,” Barkley said, referring to defensive liabilities of the Cowboys' and Sooners' football teams.
In 2006, Barkley made disparaging comments about Oklahoma to Paul when the Hornets played in Oklahoma City, referring to the state as a “vast wasteland.”
Barkley said he has enjoyed watching college basketball during the NBA's dryspell. The same couldn't be said for O'Neal, who said he wouldn't be part of TNT's NCAA Tournament coverage.
“I'm not really a fan of college basketball,” he said. “When I'm at home, I watch a lot of this show, NBA TV and Maury Povich.”