Smith explained why the Lakers should trade James to the Cavs in an episode of ESPN’s “First Take.”
“I’m calling Cleveland with some of their young talent,” Smith said.
The ESPN analyst went on to state the obvious of James’ connection to his hometown team before listing off a few other suitors.
“I’m calling Cleveland,” Smith said. “I’m calling Miami because they’ve got some – you talk about Bam Adebayo, Tyler Hero, they’ve got some young talent. I’m calling them.
“I’m calling Utah. Donovan Mitchell, you want out? D-Wade (Dwyane Wade) little minority owner up in there. I’m calling Utah.”
Smith went on to explain further why the Lakers would consider trading James, stating that he doesn’t have a no-trade clause and that the Lakers can control his future unless he decides to retire.
He believes that Los Angeles isn’t going anywhere with its current roster, and that it makes sense to put feelers out to see if James could be moved for a haul of young talent.
While Smith may believe that the Lakers should consider shopping James, it is unrealistic to think that the four-time champion would be traded anywhere unless it is a place of his choosing.
The Cavs missed the playoffs in the 2021-22 season, but they took a major step by making the league’s play-in tournament before eventually losing back-to-back games to the Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks.
As great as James is, the Cavs would have to jeopardize their young core just to bring him back to Cleveland, and he showed last year with the Lakers that he can’t carry a team to the playoffs by himself.
Cavs fans certainly would love to see James close out his career where he started, but it would make a lot more sense if the team could add him to its current young core rather than moving pieces to bring him in.