There's been speculation that Howard doesn't want to come to Chicago, in part, because he and Rose are both sponsored by adidas and the shoe company doesn't want both of their big stars in the same market.
"I don't understand what these guys are thinking," Barkley said. "Him and Derrick Rose would make the Bulls a championship contender for the next 10 years. You just want to play with as many good players or great players as possible. I think him and Derrick Rose would make a fabulous combination. I don't know what's going on with [the Howard situation]."
Rose told ESPNChicago.com last month that he doesn't plan on recruiting Howard, or any player, throughout his career. Meanwhile, Howard told Yahoo! Sports on Sunday that he doesn't expect to be traded before the Magic host the NBA All-Star Game on Feb. 24.
If being "the man" on a new team is a priority for Howard, Barkley doubts he could succeed in that role.
"I'm not sure he can be the man because you can't go to him down the stretch," Barkley said. "First of all, he's a great player, don't get me wrong, but he needs a guy like a Kobe needs a Shaq or Dwyane Wade because Dwight Howard is not a good free throw shooter.
"Most games you are not going to be able to give him the ball with the game on the line so he needs to play with another great player. He needs to think about that."