Charles Barkley on Kevin Durant joining the Suns: ‘He should lead that team’

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The always-outspoken Charles Barkley has revealed his thoughts on how he believes Kevin Durant will fare in Phoenix.

Durant is widely regarded as one of the best players in the NBA, but he has also become synonymous with players who join teams that are already built to contend for a championship.

Barkley was asked if he thinks Durant can change his reputation by claiming the role of “bus driver” in Phoenix.

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Charles Barkley arrives at the NBA Awards at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, Calif., on June 24, 2019.

Charles Barkley arrives at the NBA Awards at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, Calif., on June 24, 2019. ( Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

After leaving Oklahoma City in 2016 and joining the Warriors, who had just won a record 76 games and the championship in 2015, some began to question Durant’s ability to lead a team. But Barkley believes the superstar forward finally has the opportunity to change the narrative.

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“One hundred percent. Tremendous amount of pressure on him,” Barkley said. “He should lead that team, and if they win it, I guess older guys like myself will give him the credit. We’ve always told him that.”

In the 2019 NBA free agency period, Kevin Durant signed with the Brooklyn Nets. Although he was ruled out the following season due to his torn achilles, he still signed a max contract. 

In the 2019 NBA free agency period, Kevin Durant signed with the Brooklyn Nets. Although he was ruled out the following season due to his torn achilles, he still signed a max contract.  ( Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

Last year, Barkley even called Durant a “bus rider,” and Durant to took to Twitter to respond to the criticism.

“All this s— is nasty, another terrible analogy from a hatin old head that can’t accept that we making more bread than them,” Durant said in a June 2022 tweet. “It’s just timing Chucky, don’t hate the playa.”

(L-R) Owner Mat Ishbia, Kevin Durant and general manager James Jones of the Phoenix Suns pose for a photo at a press conference at Footprint Center on February 16, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. 

(L-R) Owner Mat Ishbia, Kevin Durant and general manager James Jones of the Phoenix Suns pose for a photo at a press conference at Footprint Center on February 16, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

Barkley spent four seasons with the Suns, the team that landed Durant in a blockbuster trade last week. The 13-time All-Star joins Chris Paul and Devin Booker in Phoenix, where the expectation is to win a championship.

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If the Suns are able to pull off an NBA Finals win during Durant’s tenure, Barkley appears set to put his criticisms to an end.

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