The 2021-22 Los Angeles Lakers were poorly constructed. It was a roster with many prominent names that were a bad fit together, past their prime, or not healthy enough. And not even an MVP-caliber year from LeBron James could revert that.
Obviously, James should get a lot of the blame for the bad season too. He advocated for the Russell Westbrook trade and multiple veterans' signings, and Rob Pelinka didn't dare to stand up and tell him to stay on his lane.
And now that James is heading towards the sunset of his career and that has struggled with injuries over the past couple of years, Stephen A. Smith believes it's time the Lakers consider moving on from him.
NBA News: Stephen A. Smith Says Lakers Should Trade LeBron James
"I have an announcement I'd like to make. It is involving LeBron James," Smith said. "I wanna announce to the American public that I think the Los Angeles Lakers should strongly consider trading LeBron James."
"That is what I believe," Smith added. "Now a lot of people are gonna lose their minds because the brother is 37 and in his 19 years and just averaged 30 and all this other stuff and if the team was better, he would have been a league MVP candidate without question. This is not throwing a speck of shame on LeBron James... I'm telling you, this is no shade to him at all."
Smith explained that the Lakers aren't a good fit altogether, Westbrook is a shell of himself, and Anthony Davis cannot be trusted to stay healthy; which is why James is their most valuable trade asset:
"The Los Angeles Lakers as presently constructed are going nowhere," he continued. "Russell Westbrook clearly lost something. Do I think he'll make amends and come back to some degree next year, probably, but we don't know. He's on the last year of his deal, making $47 million. I know for a fact, by numerous executives I've spoken to that you can't get so much value for Anthony Davis. Because he's perpetually injured and not reliable healthwise... He gets injured all the time. "
All things considered, the Lakers would be crazy to trade LeBron, even if he's aging. If anything, they could try and move both Westbrook and Davis and start over. But that doesn't seem likely at this point.