LeBron Could Regret Joining the Lakers, Says Stephen A. Smith

LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
LeBron James, #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers waits to enter the game during a 123–120 win over the L.A. Clippers at Staples Center on January 31 in Los Angeles. If the Lakers do not sign another superstar this summer, Smith says, that could lead LeBron to ask some very difficult questions. Harry How/Getty Images

ESPN Radio host and television personality Stephen A. Smith believes LeBron James could regret joining the Los Angeles Lakers. The four-time MVP swapped Cleveland for Los Angeles last summer after opting out of the final year of his deal with the Cavaliers.

The best player of his generation joining arguably the NBA's most glamorous franchise was hailed as a shot in the arm for the league as a whole.

However, the move has not yet worked out as expected. Smith warned LeBron could come to rue his decision, unless the Lakers add a superstar to their roster this coming summer.

When asked whether he felt LeBron might think he made the wrong decision by moving to California, Smith said: "I think it's possible. I don't think that's the case as of yet but I think that if this summer comes and goes and nobody shows up in L.A., you've got a problem."

The Lakers had enough salary cap space available to add a second supermax contract alongside LeBron's last summer and were widely expected to do so.

However, the second big signing never materialized. The San Antonio Spurs preferred to trade Kawhi Leonard to the Toronto Raptors, while Jimmy Butler forced his way out of Minnesota and the Timberwolves and moved to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Both players have a player option and can become free agents this summer. Sports Illustrated reported that Leonard would prefer the Clippers to the Lakers if he were not to re-sign with Toronto. Butler did not list Los Angeles among his landing spots when he left the Timberwolves.

Of course, Leonard and Butler are by no means the only players on the Lakers' radar. Since Anthony Davis asked the New Orleans Pelicans to be traded last week, Los Angeles has desperately tried to push through a deal for the five-time All-Star, who shares an agent with LeBron.

However, after seemingly being prepared to trade half of their roster to land the 25-year-old, Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka have grown tired of the Pelicans' posture. Earlier this week, ESPN reported the Lakers' president of basketball operations and general manager decided to wait for a concrete counteroffer from the Pelicans, instead of raising their bid.

Failing to land Davis before Thursday's trade deadline would open the door for Boston to launch a bid in the summer. The Boston Celtics have a bigger pool of assets to package in a trade, but under NBA rules they cannot trade for Davis until July 1 as they cannot have his and Kyrie Irving's contracts on the roster under the designated rookie exception.

Even if they don't get Davis, the Lakers can clear enough salary cap this summer to lure another superstar to Los Angeles. However, as Smith suggested, that is far from a foregone conclusion and could lead LeBron to ask some very difficult questions.

If things are not going smoothly off the court, the situation is just as difficult on it. The Lakers were thrashed by 42 points by the Indiana Pacers on Monday, slipping to 27–27 for the season.

Los Angeles is now 10th in the Western Conference standings, 1.5 games behind the Los Angeles Clippers, who currently occupy the last playoff spot in the West.