Warner Bros. Discovery lost the massive bidding war in the NBA's next television rights deal, ceding the way to NBC and Amazon as the league's broadcast partner alongside Disney. It's not the loss of TNT's in-game NBA coverage and presentation that has fans across the globe wringing their hands in frustration, though. With TNT no longer part of the league's broadcast package beginning for the 2025-26 season, where does that leave beloved studio show Inside The NBA?

If the league's reported new broadcast deals are indeed finalized, Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O'Neal will reportedly be together on set for one more season before Inside the NBA finally shuts off its lights. According to Adam Silver, though, TNT isn't officially out of the running to remain a league broadcaster, allowing for the possibility Inside the NBA continues its run for the foreseeable future.

Asked by TMZ outside the White House state dinner on Thursday about the state of TV deal negotiations, the commissioner made clear pen has yet to be put to paper.

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

Charles Barkley calls out TNT bosses as fate of ‘Inside' hang in balance

TNT sports analyst Charles Barkley speaks before game two between the Miami Heat and the Denver Nuggets in the 2023 NBA Finals at Ball Arena
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

It's hardly surprising Silver would opt against giving enlightening comment on the NBA's negotiations with Warner Bros. Discovery, Disney, NBC and Amazon. Again, nothing is official yet despite multiple reports of agreements that left TNT on the outside looking in at NBA coverage going forward. Silver would be risking those tentative deals by providing real insight on them one way or another. “Who knows?” essentially serves as his way of neither confirming nor denying those reports.

Silver and the league can only hide behind that deflection for so long, though, especially as outrage at the basketball world losing an institution like Inside the NBA continues to fester. Barkley certainly didn't quell that storm during a Thursday appearance on the Dan Patrick Show, laying into Warner Bros. CEO David Zaslav and other company leaders for dropping the ball on maintaining a relationship with the NBA.

“Morale sucks. Plain and simple,” he said, per Awful Announcing. “I just feel so bad for the people I work with. These people have families and I just really feel bad for them right now. These people I work with, they’ve 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, ‘Damn, we could have used that money to buy the NBA.’”

Barkley specifically called out Zaslav for remarks he made shortly after taking over as WBD's head honcho in 2022, when he controversially said, “We don't have to have the NBA.”

“The first thing is they came out and said, ‘We didn’t need the NBA.’ So, I think that probably pissed Adam [Silver] off,” Barkley said. “I don’t know that. But when we merged, that’s the first thing our boss said, ‘We don’t need the NBA.’ Well, he don’t need it. But me, Kenny, Shaq, Ernie and the rest of the people who work there, we need it. It just sucks right now.”