I know, I know. It’s Stephen A. Smith. But bear with me.
Here’s what Stephen A. Smith said last July — as in, July of 2013 — about what would happen with LeBron James.
“Right now, Miami and Cleveland are LeBron James’s top two options,” Smith said on The Michael Kay Show. “He is not averse to going back home.”
I can’t find the full segment, but Larry Brown Sports further quoted Smith’s segment like so:
“[The Knicks are] a distant, distant, distant third — as is everyone else — to staying in Miami, and heading to Cleveland,” Smith said on the show. “Right now, just as much as there’s a 50-50 possibility that Carmelo will leave the Knicks to go to LA, there’s as much of a possibility that LeBron will leave Miami to go back home to Cleveland.”
So that’s Stephen A. Smith, reporting that an NBA MVP will either stay with his current team or head home.
A year later, Smith went on ESPN 980’s Inside the Locker Room. This was Monday afternoon. Brian Mitchell asked what everyone has been asking.
“With LeBron going back to Cleveland, everybody here in D.C. is thinking about Kevin Durant in 2016,” Mitchell said. “The Wiz seem to be jockeying to be in that sweepstakes. Who are they going to have to compete against when that happens?”
“I don’t think anybody, to be quite honest with you,” Smith said. “Obviously the New York Knicks would be in the mix and what have you. But there are folks that I’ve spoken to that are relatively close to Kevin Durant that tell me if he were to decide to leave Oklahoma City, it would be for the nation’s capital. That’s the kind of dude he is. That’s a place that he would consider.
“I certainly don’t want to sit here as a reporter and insider and try to give indications that he’s planning on leaving Oklahoma City,” Smith said. “I don’t know that to be sure. I don’t know that to be the case. But I was told that if there is a team that would be strongly considered, it is the Washington Wizards, and him returning home.”
Needless to say, the league MVP coming home to Washington in the prime of his career would be among the very best moments in Wizards franchise history. One could do a lot of blog items about that topic over two years, theoretically.
Smith also talked about Paul Pierce’s decision to come to Washington.
“Listen, I consider Paul Pierce a closer,” he said. “I think that he’s somebody that can close the deal. He’s somebody whose hands you want the ball in when it’s time to deliver. And I think on a relatively young Washington Wizards squad, he’s an incredible fit and I like it.
“You’re gonna miss Trevor Ariza’s defense — obviously he’s got fresher legs, a little bit younger than Paul Pierce, not as much mileage on his legs as [there are] on Paul Pierce’s. But Paul Pierce is a future Hall of Famer. he’s a closer. He’s somebody whose hands you can put the ball in when it’s time….I think that he’s a really really good addition. There’s more upside than downside on that. You need his experience in that locker room. You need his experience in a locker room infused with youth. And I definitely think it’s something that’s going to help you guys for next season, at the very least.”