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Charles Barkley sees Miami Heat’s LeBron James in new light

It appears Charles Barkley is changing his tune.

The Hall of Famer once said LeBron James would never reach the stratosphere of greatness reserved for Michael Jordan. Now, Barkley has amended that opinion.

Barkley and other NBA analysts and former players will appear on the new season of NBATV’s Open Court, which debuts Tuesday.

NBATV has released a snippet of the show, which features Barkley praising James.

“I do think he can be better than Michael,” Barkley said. “I thought I would never compare somebody to Michael Jordan. But this guy, LeBron James, he does everything well. Michael did everything well. LeBron James is just bigger, stronger, faster. That’s the only difference.”

In the summer of 2010, Barkley was critical of James and his decision to leave Cleveland for Miami.

“He’ll never be Jordan,” Barkley said in an interview on 790 The Ticket. “This clearly takes him out of the conversation. He can win as much as he wants to. … There would have been something honorable about staying in Cleveland and trying to win it as ‘The Man.’ ”


The Heat carried 16 players into the final preseason game, and coach Erik Spoelstra said Friday that he planned to trim the roster to 15 afterwards. The Heat begins the season Tuesday with a home game against the Celtics.

The Heat waived forwards Jarvis Vanardo and Rodney Carney on Friday morning, bringing the team’s number to 16.

Entering Friday’s game, three players — forward Josh Harrellson, shooting guard Terrel Harris and point guard Garrett Temple — were vying for two roster spots.

All three players bring something different to the back of the Heat’s bench.

Harrellson provides size inside combined with a soft touch from outside. Harris is a dogged defender the most athletic of the three. Temple is a classic point and has shown a strong command of the Heat’s offense throughout training camp.

“They all deserve this — to go this far and have an opportunity,” said Spoelstra of the decision to keep the three players throughout the entire preseason.

Harrellson seems to have a leg up on Harris and Temple, considering the Heat already cut center Mickell Gladness and forwards Robert Dozier and Vanardo.

Carney actually played the best of all the Heat’s camp invitees, but the team is already deep at small forward.

“He certainly didn’t play himself into being released,” Spoelstra said of Carney. “He played well enough to make the team and he made it very competitive in camp. He represented himself well and it just didn’t work out. And a lot of times you get to this point and they’re tough decisions.”


While Dwyane Wade joked before the game that he wasn’t mad it was the final exhibition game, he did acknowledge that the seventh preseason game served a purpose for the Heat’s younger players.

“When we get an opportunity to get on the court we’re still trying to work out system and we got a couple new guys who are still trying to learn our system,” Wade said.

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