Sam Smith’s Obsession with LeBron Rolls On

LeBron Kobe BryantAlmost one month ago to the day, we discussed the potential of Larry Hughes was pegged to return back to Cleveland.  This curio of sorts originated from Chicago Bulls beat writer Sam Smith.  In the post, we said the following:

If there was a Mount Rushmore of NBA [scribes], I’m not exactly sure who would all be on it. What I can tell you, though, is that one name that would probably get some consideration (in some circles) is Sam Smith. The former Chicago Tribune writer who covered the Bulls beat in the MJ era and currently writes exclusively for the Chicago Bulls’ official site ( probably earned his most fame for writing his essential must-read book “The Jordan Rules.”

Smith has undoubtedly had his name in NBA fan ears for quite some time, and deservedly so.  But then there is this:

Unfortunately, it seems these days Smith is more interested in ruffling feathers and spreading (seemingly) baseless rumors. In particular, he loves to take shots at LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Said “shots” focused primarily around Smith’s obesession with the number of fouls being called on James.  The beat writer for the Chicago Bulls took the time to go back through box scores of another team’s player and counted how many times James had been whistled for a violation. 

Furthermore, Smith decided to claim that “some NBA people” feel that Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant is actually better than James and that James himself “isn’t the best thing to ever happen in anyone’s life.”  You know, as if this thinking has actually been stated as fact.

Well, if that was not enough, Smith is back for more LeBron-based rumor-starting wholesomeness.  The latest, you ask?  James will be heading to Los Angeles next season to play along side Kobe Bryant. 

You got it.  Los Angeles.  In fact, Smith is “fairly sure” that this will happen.

[Going] to the Lakers makes all the sense in the world, and, at least to my view, fits LeBron better than it would other players of his caliber. Of which there’s basically only Kobe Bryant.

I’ve heard this scenario from some NBA people…

There we go again with “some NBA people.”

And since Michael Jordan is no longer around for the Bulls beat writer on which to focus his attention, we can use Jordan’s name in comparison to James and his future.

I strongly question the Cavs roster and decision making to help make LeBron a champion. Michael Jordan was able to accept the lack of titles into the late 1980s because the Bulls were improving and going farther each season. It appears the Cavs are backsliding.

The remainder of the article focuses solely on stuff which Smith feels to be true.  Baseless thoughts with some salary cap numbers thrown in for good measure.  Oh, and of course the whole “everyone wants to play in L.A.” argument – wait for it – because of the weather. 

We have given Yahoo!’s Adian Wojnarowski some heat in the past for his relentless focus on LeBron James.  Woj has made it a hobby to spread narrow-minded rumors about James, using a lot of the same thought that Smith has displayed time and time again.  But the thing is, Wojnarowski is a national basketball columnist; he is not a team beat writer. 

When Brian Windhorst writes about other teams, it is typically in a brief “news and notes” segment and only comes on Sundays.  Sure, he has used the New York Knicks as a reference in salary cap talks, but only because James is their primary focus. 

We are four games into the 2009-10 season and this is the second article (of mention) that Smith has penned about LeBron James. 

We continue to abide by the thinking that James truly has no firm commitment at this point when it comes to 2010.  And with that said, regardless of how many outlandish, throwing something against the wall only to see what sticks-type rumors Smith wants to use to fill his word-requirements for the Bulls, he has even less of an idea as to what is actually going on inside the head of the reigning MVP.

David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

  • BDJim

    Seems to me that this guy also doesn’t know what is going on with the Cavs, if he thinks the team is “backsliding.”

  • DP Diesel

    Some NBA people have said that, because LeBron wants to be a “Universal Icon”, he will be spurning all NBA teams in 2010 to start his own team and league on the Moon.

    I mean, this is about as likely, right, and I can just cite unnamed “league people”. Done, and done.

  • DocZeus

    Yeah, that’s not happening. There is no way that LeBron is taking a penny less than the max deal and the Cavaliers will never trade LeBron away. I don’t care if LeBron admits on national television that he would rather sign with the Grizzlies for the veteran’s minimum than stay in Cleveland, it would mean the death of the franchise if the Cavs traded him. ‘

    And even if it’s remotely politically plausible, the Cavs would have to get back Gasol and Bynum before they are even remotely approaching full value for LeBron James.

  • Natty The Dog

    When a small market team has the best, the bigger cities think they are entitled to it. Smith is just using stupidity to get noticed.

  • Boomhauer

    (Shakes his head)

  • ALex

    I love how people write the team off after only a few games, what a joke this guy is. Although Lebron to LA makes alot more sense than to the knicks.

  • Scott

    The only thing Smith managed to leave out in his barrage of worthless supporting arguments was “They already have their own puppets!”

  • JK

    There aren’t enough shots in the world for LBJ and Kobe.

  • Josh

    Bill Simmons has suggested LeBron to L.A. a few times, but it’s always been with regard to the Clippers – young team, big market, and cap room.

    but the Lakers?!?! whoa!

  • ALex

    After reading Smith’s article i can confirm he is a joke

    “The Lakers certainly have no salary cap room. They are in no position to pay James, which remains the No. 1 priority for all free agents. James just has to explain to the Cavs he’s leaving. If they don’t accommodate him, he’s going to New York or Miami and they get nothing. But if they do in a sign and trade to save the franchise, they get a young, potential All-Star center in Andrew Bynum. Maybe Lamar Odom as well or Ron Artest. Draft picks, some pieces like Jordan Farmar. The Cavs can compete in the East with a star center and some pieces added to what they have. It’s better than nothing as cap room doesn’t mean anything in Cleveland. No one’s going there. ”

    Is he serious with any of that??

  • Boomhauer

    Anyone who watched Durant last night against the Lakers knows he’s got a long way to go to catch up to LeBron.

  • ben

    Some sports readers have suggested that Sam Smith is officially a hack, and that Fanhouse is considering hiring him to write a joint column with Jay Mariotti.

  • S-Dub

    Lol, Bynum, Artest at 34 and Odom at 33, plus a few #31 draft picks and Jordan Farmar. Ya pretty good deal….

    And Shaq and Bynum on the same floor with only a PG in Mo Williams? Pretty good way to compete. That guy is hilarious.

  • Du

    I think old Sammy there is just jealous that the Bull’s 6 titles are a thing of the past and the Cavs continue to be on the rise.

    This guy is a joke.

  • ben
  • DocZeus

    You think about trading us Gasol, Bynum, Odom and every number one pick of yours for the foreseeable future, we’ll talk.

  • Anthony

    It seems to me that Sam Smith cannot handle the distinct possibility that an all-time great player like LeBron can become forever synonymous with a single city like Jordan became with Chicago. Jealousy is an ugly color, Sam.

    And though I feel this way for every game the Cavs play, tomorrow night I especially hope they crush the Bulls. Maybe Smith can pound out another hack article for after the destruction.

  • Nicko

    I guess I don’t have to read these articles here, but do I really have to read about what other writers think about what LBJ is going to do next year every other day on this site. Who cares? I come here to NOT read any of this.

    Just don’t turn this site into this, I beg you..

  • Chrisjake

    The only Sam Smith I’ve ever heard of makes a killer Oatmeal Stout. If its not him you’re referring to, he obviously doesnt count for anything.

  • Jason

    Dear Sam Smith,

    While we respect you as a knowledgeable basketball writer, please stop speculating about Lebron leaving Cleveland for the 2009-2010 season. We have one season left with our home-grown superstar and we’d like to enjoy it without your baseless and unlikely scenarios.

    Furthermore, we are looking forward to every Cavs / Bulls game and to reading your excuses as to why the Bulls finish second (at best) in the Central.

    -a few Cavs fans

  • mike

    2 things really stuck out to me. #1 – i think everyone is really underestimating lebron’s ego. and yes, he absolutely has one. to me, lebron wants to be the #1, sure-fire alpha dog. if he leaves to join another superstar on that guys team (like Kobe in LA, wade in Miami, etc.) then he is automatically second fiddle. its one thing for a chris bosh or the like to come to lebron, but it will certainly tarnish his legacy if he has to join another player on another team to win a championship. #2 – sam smith says at one point how great of a team it would be to have kobe, gasol, lebron and odom, then he says in order to get the trade done they should include odom?? wtf?? which is it?

  • mike

    further to my last comment, sam smith says “But you watched James in the Olympics and he seemed to embrace the supporting role, rebounding and moving the ball. He’s always said he wants to play with those Olympic teammates, and it doesn’t seem like the Cavs payroll can accommodate that.”

    embrace a supporting role? seriously? if he thinks lebron’s ego would embrace a “supporting role” on an nba team, then i have a ton of prime Florida real estate to sell him. dont take me the wrong way – i am in no way bashing lebron. but the man absolutely has an ego, and thats not a bad thing. you dont get to be where he is now without having one. not a chance in heck lebron is “embracing a supporting role” on any nba team. Smith seems to be confusing being a well-rounded player and teammate who understands passing and getting others involved with “embracing a supporting role.”

  • Dave

    Wherever LeBron ends up, here’s what I’d expect him to be looking for:
    1. Championship contender. Now. Not a team trying to use him to rebuild their franchise. That limits the choices to Cleveland, Boston, Orlando, the Lakers, or some other team that completely revamps their lineup with top-notch players.
    2. Max salary. Easy enough, and probably removes the Lakers, Boston, and Orlando from contention.
    3. Strong fan base. Well, he can get that anywhere, but he might have a harder time in places where he’s schooled their hometown teams repeatedly.

    Ergo, he’ll be in Cleveland. He has absolutely no reason to leave, and lots of reasons to stay.

  • Cavalette23

    If Sam Smith wrote for the Jordan Era Bulls, he should retire already. As for Lebron, he does make a difference in someone’s life–MINE!!! It is truly amazing for me to watch him on the court! He brings excitement to Cleveland basketball. Durant does not compare to the King! How many NBA MVPs does Durant have? How many times as Durant led the Grizzles into the post season?How many Olympic Gold Metals does Durant have? Enough said.

  • Denny

    Um, Durant is 21 years old and has been a pro 2 years. LeBron’s been in the Association for 7 seasons. Let’s wait a bit on that one.

    Not saying Durant is as good as LeBron or that he isn’t – but if you’re going to compare lifetime achievements, wait until you have a good sampling to compare.

  • deebo

    Get used to it folks this sort of nonsensical shamockery will continue and continue to ramp up until…

  • BB

    Wait a second, are we sure Sam is talking about the real NBA and just not reporting about his dynasty in NBA Live 10?

  • Jason

    doesn’t Kevin Durant play for the Thunder (former Sonics) and not the Grizzlies?

  • DocZeus

    I watched Kevin Durant play against the Lakers on Tuesday night. KD is a great player but he isn’t at the level that Lebron was four years ago, let alone today.

  • Rob (Chicago)

    Let me give you cleveland people a little outside perspective.

    1. Lebron may or may not be the best player in the league. (I personally believe that it is Kobe) but he is definitely working with the worst cast of characters.
    2. A power forward has never lead an NBA team to a Championship. (Usually a guard or a Center)
    3. Lebron DEFINITELY has a clause in his contract that pays him more if he plays in LA, Chicago or New York area, from Nike this 10% bump would just about make up the one year difference that Cleveland can offer vs any other team.
    4. I don’t want him on the Bulls because we Need a Shooting Guard (would prefer hometown guy Wade.)
    5. If you truly stop and think about it LA make a whole lot of sense… Lebron loves the Yankees and as he said today it does not matter the payroll the guys still have to play (I hate the yankees and disagree) this to me is an insight on his thought process- I BELIEVE that he would go with Kobe to create a Yankees in the NBA an unstoppable team for the next decade, the new Showtime to battle K Garnett, P. Pierce and R. Allen…which would accomplish his ultimate and true goal…….
    6. Lebron wants validation from a Championship YESTERDAY! and would have absolutely no problem being on a guaranteed winner if he was co-pilot.

    …..I think Sam Smith can be a kook at times but rarely is he completely wrong.

  • mike

    the “nike clause” has been debunked by many already. it doesnt exist. winning a championship as a “copilot” would completely undermine any validation he would get by winning a championship.

  • mike

    going to the lakers is senseless. #1, he cant go there as a free agent. #2, the amount it would take in return salary would decimate that roster. the celtics are so good because of the allen, garnett, pierce combo but also because of their depth. any sign and trade scenario to the lakers would decimate the lakers’ depth. just having kobe, pau and lebron is not enough.

    and again about the nike contract – like i said, any “kicker” rumor has been debunked by many national writers. it doesnt exist. even if it did, its a moot point because his nike contract expires after this season. he is in line for a new one anyways so any kicker (if it existed) would never be in play.

  • Pingback: Mo Williams: “You Can’t Underrate Home” | WaitingForNextYear()

  • Pingback: In Limbo: Cavaliers Trade Plans Still In Neutral….For Now | WaitingForNextYear()