BOSTON (CBS) — Charles Barkley doesn’t see any teams other than the Warriors and Cavaliers making the NBA Finals (again) in the 2017-18 season. His comments would have been indisputable a year ago, but now Celtics fans might have something to say about it.

Speaking to the New York Times’ Marc Stein for a feature story about the start of the NBA season, the always-outspoken basketball Hall of Famer and TNT analyst lamented the idea that it will once again be Warriors-Cavs in the NBA Finals, rendering the regular season (and even most of the playoffs) virtually meaningless.

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“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,” said Barkley.

The implication is that Barkley is completely dismissing the Celtics’ chances of beating the Cavs to get to the NBA Finals, despite the C’s getting Kyrie Irving from Cleveland in the biggest trade of the offseason. It’s likely that many others agree with his sentiment, and he is simply the one who’s not afraid to say it out loud.

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Charles Barkley (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images for PGD Global)

As long as LeBron James is in a Cavs uniform, his team should be considered the favorite to win the East. But a potential Conference Finals rematch could at least be more interesting with Irving and Gordon Hayward wearing Celtics green.

Barkley is certainly right about one thing: the defending NBA champion Warriors still have a stranglehold on the Western Conference crown, and perhaps the entire league. Despite the Rockets and Thunder making significant moves to bolster their own rosters and the Spurs still lurking, those teams still don’t feel close to the Warriors’ level.

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The hope is that, in the Eastern Conference anyway, the C’s can prove Barkley wrong next summer.