NBA Commissioner Adam Silver Reveals TNT Deal May Not Be Dead Just Yet

Although it sounds like the NBA‘s televised broadcast rights could be wholly redistributed, league commissioner Adam Silver recently insisted that nothing was quite set in stone as negotiations allegedly continue. The present deal, which distributes rights between Disney (ABC/ESPN) and Warner Brothers (TNT/TBS), lasts through the 2024-25 season.

Silver was caught by TMZ outside a White House state dinner event in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, where he addressed ongoing negotiations.

“Who knows,” Silver said. “We’re all still talking. Who knows how it’s gonna work out.”

Per Matthew Belloni of Puck News, Disney is rumored to be ready to shell out $2.8 billion annually for the “A” package, to be distributed across ESPN and ABC. The “B” package will be awarded to Comcast/NBCUniversal to the tune of $2.5 billion. The “C” package, per Belloni, is set to be offloaded to Amazon Prime Video, for the bargain price of $2 billion. Should this happen, the beloved Emmy-winning, long-running TNT studio show “Inside The NBA” would come to an end — at least, via TNT.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks to the media at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 17, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Silver recently weighed in on the NBA’s TV rights negotiations.

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The show features Hall of Fame former NBA players Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal, plus two-time NBA champ Kenny “The Jet” Smith and longtime TNT analyst Ernie Johnson. They offer their signature blend of hilariously candid commentary and insights into the hoops news of the day.

“We’re never gonna lose Charles and Kenny,” Silver insisted. “They’re always going to be covering the NBA. … I can’t imagine those guys [on ‘Inside the NBA’] won’t be performing and announcing together in the future, and we all love them.”

During a recent interview earlier this week on “The Dan Patrick Show,” Barkley explained his own frustration with Warner Brothers’ decision to prioritize acquiring new college football broadcast rights over preserving their NBA rights.

“Morale sucks, plain and simple. I just feel so bad for the people I work with, Dan,” Barkley lamented. “These people have families and I just really feel bad for them right now. These people I work with, they screwed this thing up, clearly, and we don’t have zero idea what’s gonna happen. I don’t feel good. I’m not gonna lie, especially when they came out yesterday and said we bought college football. I was like, well, damn, they could have used that money to buy the NBA.”

Barkley is the standout star, but his interplay with Smith and Johnson (O’Neal was a newer addition, having signed on upon retiring in 2011), forged over decades, has never been duplicated on any other recent studio show. One has to wonder if, as Silver speculated, this group will port the show over to a different company should Warner Brothers indeed relinquish the broadcast rights.