The Boston Celtics point guard and the Golden State Warriors forward are both likely to turn down their player options for the 2019-20 season and have been incessantly linked with summer moves to the New York Knicks, who will have the cap space to sign two max free agents.
But Barkley, who serves as an analyst on TNT's "Inside the NBA" program, told Sports Illustrated's Jimmy Traina on Tuesday he'd advise both players to stay away.
"You ain't tough enough to play in New York," Barkley said of Durant. "I don't think him or Kyrie are tough enough to play in New York."
"Kyrie’s a very good player, Kevin's a great, great player, but I'm not sure they have the mental makeup to play in New York," Barkey added. "There’s a lot that comes with playing in New York. And those guys are complaining about media asking questions and things like that, maybe New York isn’t for them."
As Barkley referenced, both players have clashed with the media in the past. In early February, Durant berated reporters after a loss to the San Antonio Spurs after receiving questions about his impending free agency. And in December, he blamed the media for players not wanting to team up with LeBron James due to a "toxic" environment.
Irving's had his own run-ins with the media this season, including in February when he criticized speculation over a recorded hallway conversation with Durant during All-Star Weekend. The 26-year-old later apologized for his relationship with the media, but Barkley still doesn't think he or Durant are suited for Gotham.
"New York is a different animal," he added. "There are certain places everybody can’t play."
Barkley was an 11-time All-Star as a player who suited up for 16 combined NBA seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, and Houston Rockets. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.