Back in 1992, Hall of Famer Charles Barkley demanded to be traded by Philadelphia 76ers as he believed the team wasn’t competitive enough. And while Barkley ended up landing with Phoenix Suns that summer, it turns out that he had another destination in mind when he made his request.
During a recent appearance on Zach Lowe’s The Lowe Post podcast, Barkley admitted that he wanted to join Portland Trail Blazers at the time. With Trail Blazers making the NBA Finals in the two previous seasons, Barkley believed he was the piece Portland was missing to go all the way.
“Portland was my first choice because Portland had enough talent to give up for me and we’d still be a contender,” Barkley told Lowe. “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.”
After Trail Blazers declined the opportunity to get Charles Barkley, Los Angeles Lakers made a bid, and the offer was even accepted by 76ers. Philly, however, pulled out of the deal hours later and instead shipped Barkley to Phoenix in exchange for Jeff Hornacek, Tim Perry and Andrew Lang.
Barkley led the Suns to the NBA Finals in his first season with the franchise but still failed to capture the NBA title with the organization. He later joined Houston Rockets to try and get a ring but failed there as well.
Trail Blazers, on the other hand, never made it to NBA Finals again and saw six consecutive First Round exits after 1992.