NBA Hall of Famer and analyst Charles Barkley called Kyrie Irving’s request to be traded by the Cleveland Cavaliers “stupid," saying he should stay with a good team and play with other great players like LeBron James. In an interview with NBA TV, Barkley said he doesn’t understand Irving’s notion that he wants to be the No. 1 man on a team, stressing that winning is more important. “If I got a chance to play with another great player, I want to do that. The objective is to win,” said Barkley.

Barkley said Irving must understand that there’s a price for winning a championship and part of that is living under the enormous shadow of a superstar like James.

Barkley also advised Irving to align himself with James as long as he can, saying he has a better chance of winning another championship with him. Irving won his first NBA championship ring one year after James returned to the Cavaliers.

Barkley said he wants to play with James right now

As of now, Barkley said there are only two to four legitimate teams in the NBA and playing outside of those teams is like wasting time for seven months. “So I don't understand why you wouldn't want to play with LeBron,” said Barkley, adding that he wants to play with James right now. An 11-time All-Star and the 1993 Most Valuable Player, Barkley played for 16 seasons in the NBA. In his career, he averaged 22.1 points and 11.7 rebounds per game.

He was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.

Earlier, Irving approached team owner Dan Gilbert and asked for a trade, saying he wants to be the No. 1 man on a team, away from the huge shadow of James. He also mentioned the San Antonio Spurs, New York Knicks, Miami Heat, and the Minnesota Timberwolves as possible trade destinations.

The Cavaliers, for their part, can move Irving anywhere they choose.

Barkley predicted that Lakers won’t make playoffs

Last month, the outspoken Barkley predicted that the Los Angeles Lakers will not make it to the playoffs next season despite the addition of No. 2 overall pick Lonzo Ball, former Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez, and shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

Barkley even emphasized that the Philadelphia 76ers are better than the Lakers now, with No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Dario Saric leading the way. The Lakers have missed the playoffs for four straight seasons, which matches the longest postseason drought in franchise history.