“Who is the one piece that everyone in the league will call and say, ‘What do you want?’

TV personality Stephen A. Smith drew some backlash Wednesday for suggesting the LA Lakers trade LeBron James. On Thursday, he further explained his thought process.

The thing is, the Lakers don’t have any valuable assets they can use in a swap and the big money is locked into their paychecks. After the 33-49 season, changes are needed, but they just don’t have enough room to make major adjustments.

Given the state of the Lakers, Smith believes he can serve the team to trade LeBron. That way they can get valuable players in return and try to rebuild from there.

On ESPN’s “First Take,” Smith said:

“I’m constantly getting misquotes and going out of context. The point is, I’m talking about LeBron James. I’m not overshadowing him in any way. I appreciate his greatness. He is.” At 37, he just finished his 19th season in the NBA averaging 30 and is the only property the Los Angeles Lakers have.”

Smith pointed out that Anthony Davis’ injury concerns made him less valuable in the trading market. Davis has played in 40 games (all 82 games) this season and 36 of 72 games last season.

“You know as well as I do that the Lakers can’t get fair compensation for the talent that is Anthony Davis due to Anthony Davis’ injury propensity, so scrape that out.

“If you’re the Los Angeles Lakers and you don’t want to repeat what happened during the twilight years of basketball player Kobe Bryant. Of course, God’s spirit rest assured.

“What do you do if you want to avoid repeating that? Everyone in the league is calling and saying, ‘What do you want? What do we have to give you for that? What are you looking for?’ “Who’s the one piece you have? Who’s the only one who has a chance to let the Lakers get these kinds of phones? That’s LeBron James.”

Suggesting a LeBron trade will be viewed by many as ridiculous. Doing so will mean the franchise doesn’t want to compete for the 2023 championship.


LeBron James has missed the playoffs twice since joining the LA Lakers.

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