Numerous All-Star talents finding new homes during one of the most chaotic summers in league history has done little to dispel the notion that the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers will likely be squaring off in the NBA Finals once again.
TNT analyst Charles Barkley is certainly of that mindset, and isn't exactly looking forward to having to pretend during the regular season that basketball fans will be getting anything but a fourth straight Warriors-Cavs series in June.
"The toughest thing for me is I have to get on TV and fake it for seven months that it’s not going to be the Warriors and Cavs in the finals again," Barkley told The New York Times' Marc Stein.
Neither team faced any adversity whatsoever en route to their Finals matchup last season. Golden State breezed through the first three rounds with a perfect record against the Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz, and Kawhi Leonard-less San Antonio Spurs. Cleveland, on the other hand, dropped a single game against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals after sweeping the Indiana Pacers and Toronto Raptors.
Never before had the same two teams met in the Finals three years in a row, so a fourth instance would be a truly remarkable feat.
Barkley's attitude on the matter sure makes it sound like he'd rather just fast forward through the 2017-18 campaign to the inevitable clash of the titans.