Charles Barkley says he was almost traded to Lakers

Charles Barkley speaks onstage before the NBA All-Star Game concert in New York on Feb. 12.
(Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images)

How would the Lakers have fared through the 1990s with Charles Barkley as their star player?

According to Barkley, he was almost dealt to the Lakers by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1992.

“I got traded to the Lakers one day and the Sixers retracted the deal,” Barkley told

“The Sixers back out. It was going crazy for two weeks so I knew it would come down to Portland, [the] Lakers or Phoenix,” he continued. “So I get a call from my agent one morning and he said, ‘Philly has traded you to the Lakers.’”


How did the Hall of Fame power forward react to the news?

“I went to lunch and started drinking,” Barkley said. “Three hours later I get a ... phone call from my agent saying the Sixers backed out of the deal.”

Instead of joining the Lakers, Barkley said, he returned to his team and played for the Sixers, albeit slightly inebriated.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported the near-trade in 1992, noting that James Worthy and Elden Campbell were the pieces the Lakers intended to swap for Barkley.

Worthy retired in 1994. Campbell was eventually traded with Eddie Jones to the Charlotte Hornets in the Glen Rice deal.

Barkley was named the NBA’s most valuable player in 1993, helping lead the Suns to the Finals in a losing effort to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.

After a lean decade, the Lakers eventually returned to the top with titles in 2000, 2001 and 2002 built around Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant -- something that would not have come to pass had the team acquired Barkley.


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