"Nothing is out of bounds right now. We don't know what the hell is going on in Los Angeles," Stephen A. Smith said on SportsCenter. "You've got folks close to Jeanie Buss imploring her to trade LeBron James. He does not have a no-trade clause, and now you haven't given him the coach he wanted.
"LeBron James has quietly been about the business of trying to get Kawhi Leonard to come to the Los Angeles Lakers instead of the Los Angeles Clippers. So making a move like this, by not bringing in the coach he wants, not securing the coach he wants in Los Angeles, you never know what dominos are going to fall right now."
James signed a four-year contract with the Lakers last summer, but his first season was a mess. The Lakers failed to coalesce on the court, had an aborted in-season trade attempt for Anthony Davis and missed the playoffs—James' first time out of the playoffs since his second NBA season.
Couple that with Magic Johnson's surprise resignation—something James criticized on The Shop—and the Lakers have the makings of a completely rudderless ship. Smith said the people telling Buss to trade James are "Hollywood people."
"We don't know who Jeanie Buss is listening to at this particular moment," Smith said. "I'm going to pray that Jeanie Buss is smart enough to revisit the talks and recognize the collateral damage that will be implemented in the event that Ty Lue is not the coach. Because if you don't get somebody that LeBron James is comfortable with, how is that going to affect his recruiting for you and himself this summer? How is it going to affect his desire to stay in LA?
"More importantly, if you're not competing for championships, who's to say you're not going to decide that it's best to move LeBron James? Particularly when I'm hearing there are people in [Buss'] ear—albeit Hollywood people, not basketball people—that are telling you to move LeBron James and use him to acquire a multitude of prime assets. Who's to say the Lakers are gonna keep him? We don't know because we don't know who's running the organization."
Of course, it would be utterly foolish to trade James. He's one of the best players in the world and the biggest star basketball has seen since Michael Jordan retired.
He's also perhaps the most powerful NBA player we've ever seen. If he were to be traded, James would dictate where he would go. That would limit the amount of compensation the Lakers would receive in return, and it would just be a certifiably insane move from every perspective.
That said, at this point, it's hard to put anything past this Lakers front office.