Stephen A. Smith on why the Lakers needed to trade LeBron James

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ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith claimed Thursday that the Los Angeles Lakers must trade forward LeBron James if they want to secure a brighter future.

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Smith’s argument is rooted in the fact that the Lakers are one of the worst shooting teams in the league. Smith also mentions that he likes what rookie head coach Darvin Ham is doing in terms of creating an effective offensive scheme, and the big three of James, forward Anthony Davis and guard Russell Westbrook are playing well in their roles.

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Smith believes the Lakers are not a construction contender and should trade James to improve their shooting as well as overall talent. The Lakers are shooting 29.3% from 3-point range and the league average through Thursday night is 35.6%.

“I’ll tell you, Windy, it’s a challenge because I’m watching the Lakers miss open shots. And are they open because it is schematically the coaching of Darwin Ham opens? Are they open because teams say they are with us and let them go ahead and shoot? Okay, so that’s hard, okay. It’s just a heavy watch. They just can’t shoot, they have athletes.

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I don’t think Darvin Ham is a bad coach. I’ve seen them do schematic things that impressed me. I know what else LeBron James could do on a bad night. He’s better than 95% of the league. Anthony Davis played well. Westbrook has looked significantly better off the bench than when he was the starter. But what you can’t get around is that in 2022, we understand that shooting comes first. That Los Angeles Lakers Rob Pelinka thought you could build a team without shooters.

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And the fact is, LeBron James has to go because of that. Because he’s the only one with value even in his 20th season in the league, LeBron James would go somewhere and teams are desperate enough that they might be willing to sacrifice some picks, maybe they’d be willing to sacrifice some assets to get LeBron James’ size to ticket sales for their franchise.”

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