ESPN's Stephen A. Smith has been known to have a hot take or two. After all, he's the heart and soul of ESPN's flagship morning show "First Take". It's in the name and Smith full embraces the spirit of the show.
On Wednesday, a four person panel was discussing whether or not the Lakers leaning on Phil Jackson's advice in their ongoing search for a head coach is a "good or bad idea". Smith used the opportunity to state that the Lakers should explore potentially trading franchise cornerstone LeBron James.
Smith is of the opinion that LeBron James, not Russell Westbrook, nor Anthony Davis, is the only player on the roster with any meaningful trade value.
"He's the only person that has extreme value that you'll never get equitable compensation for his greatness, but it's the only chance you have to be immediately respectable if you're the Los Angeles Lakers."
The national pundit, knowing that the statement would turn into headlines (like this one), opened with a quick disclaimer to Lakers fans and NBA fans alike before voicing his LeBron.
"I think the Lakers should strongly consider trading LeBron James. It is what I believe. Now, a lot of people are going to lose their minds because the brother is 37, he just averaged 30 [points per game], and all this other stuff. If the team was better, he would have been a MVP candidate without question."
That wasn't the only disclaimer Smith uttered while explaining his position on LeBron James and the Lakers.
"This is not throwing a speck of shade on LeBron James in case he's watching, which he'll try to deny it, but he's watching. I'm telling you right now, it's not shade at all. It's a testament to his greatness and a compliment to him that I'm saying this is what the Los Angeles Lakers should consider."
It's an intriguing idea, but it's hard to believe that the Lakers would be able to compete for a title next year without LeBron, regardless of what the return is.