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Stephen A. Smith Says LeBron James Should Leave The Lakers: “I Don’t Think He Will, But He Should”

LeBron James

The 2021/22 NBA season has been anything but sweet for the Los Angeles Lakers. The 17-time NBA champions have struggled to get things going, receiving a lot of criticism from fans and the media alike.

Even though he's playing at a great level, LeBron James hasn't been able to lead this team to the top of the Western Conference standings, as they are six games under the .500 mark. This situation has sparked many debates and rumors about the future of the franchise and its superstar. 

After the Lakers decided to not make moves before the trade deadline, James made some comments that raise many eyebrows around the league. Besides praising Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti, he also talked about playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers once again

Yes, he clarified those comments, but that hasn't stopped the rumor mill, with many folks placing him on a different team. Colin Cowherd already dropped the idea of the Lakers trading LeBron away, and he has a good candidate in the Miami Heat

Well, he's not the only one who thinks the King needs to be in a different environment after this tumultuous season. ESPN's Stephen A. Smith said that Bron should consider leaving the Lakers, although he knows he won't do it. 

"He damn sure should think about it. But I'll say a couple of things. Russell Westbrook was hilarious right there, and I know he didn't mean it the way he was coming across, but when you're struggling the way that he's struggled, the way the team has struggled, for this particular franchise, that's going to be taken differently, and him being a Los Angeles native should know that. If you're in Oklahoma City, you can do that, 'cause we know what he meant to that franchise, but the Lakers are a different animal, with championship expectations every year.

"Should LeBron consider wanting out of the Lakers? Sure he should. I don't think he will, but he should. LeBron delivered a championship, and last time I checked, he's playing like an MVP candidate. The one person who should never be booed by the Los Angeles Lakers fans is LeBron James. No matter how bad it is, no matter how good it is. This man has been a model of consistency, professionalism, and greatness for the Los Angeles Lakers. I think we all can look at LeBron's play on the court. If you wanted to get on him for the roster, that's a different matter. But looking at LeBron James' play on the court, can we seriously sit here and look at him and find fault with how he has played? I can't. I've watched him, all year long, and I'm not saying he's perfect every moment because of course he's not. But, you talk about a dude who's playing hard, is going all out and producing digits. 29, 6 and 7. I mean, that's what he's averaging, on 51.9% of shooting, on nearly 35% shooting from 3-point range, at age 37 in his 19th season, half the time without Anthony Davis. This is not the person the Los Angeles Lakers fanbase should be booing because he commited a turnover. Mind your manners and watch yourselves, because LeBron has not cheated you. Remember where you were before he arrived and what you accomplished within two years after his arrival."

If we strictly talk about his game, the Lakers have plenty of reasons to thank LeBron James. However, when it comes to his participation in the assembling of the current roster, it's pretty clear that he made bad suggestions and decisions. The Russell Westbrook experiment has failed, the other veterans on the roster haven't lived up to the expectations, and the Lakers are earning a lot of criticism during all these months. 

We are entering the final stretch of the campaign and it's hard to find somebody that still believes the Lakers can turn things around and win the championship in the next couple of months. LeBron has stated his commitment to the Purple and Gold, but a lot of people still think he should leave the Lakers and seek a new challenge.