“Players Who Are Getting Paid Don’t Deserve To Get Paid”| Stephen A. Smith Calls Out NBA Players’ “Shenanigans,” Say Owners Are “Coming For Them”

(Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)

The trade deadline has come and gone without the Lakers trading Russell Westbrook.

We all know the Lakers have struggled, but now it’s getting to the point where talking heads are basically accusing the team of packing it in, which has led to a wider debate on the state of the league, its star players, the culture being set by those players and how the owners don’t like this age of empowerment one bit. 

Brian Windhorst, Stephen A. Smith and Kendrick Perkins appeared on “First Take” to discuss the matter. Before Thursday’s James Harden for Ben Simmons trade, what happens to Russ was the main attraction as far as trade deadline news is concerned. 

While trades were being discussed, Windhorst suggested that the Lakers need to make a move to get the team “reinvigorated.”

Stephen A. Smith took the conversation off its original course and alluded to the upcoming collective bargaining agreement, while taking a shot at NBA players and vouching for the owners. 

Stephen A. Smith:

“The Los Angeles Lakers are an unmitigated disaster. They are a mess. They are going to cost people their livelihoods and in the midst of all of that, players who are getting paid don’t deserve to get paid, but they’ll get their money anyway. That’s why the next round of collective bargaining negotiations between the owners and players … is going to be must-see TV in terms of us talking about it, because these owners are coming for them.”

SAS didn’t stop there. He explained why the owners should be coming for the players who should be more committed to doing their jobs, in his opinion.

“The fact that you got guys taking time off. The fact that you have guys who don’t want to follow rules and regulations, the fact that you got guys who are being lackadaisical at their discretion. Picking when they want to play and how they want to play instead of being committed to doing their job. The owners are coming for them, and I call it down the middle, the way that I see it. Some of these dudes … if the players end up getting the short end of the stick, they would have deserved it, because some of the shenanigans simply can’t be tolerated. It’s bad for the game.” 

Smith went on to blast the Lakers for losing to a Portland Trail Blazers team that just traded away CJ McCollum and was missing franchise star Damian Lillard and some other key pieces. 

Not sure how these Lakers losses tie into players taking too many liberties with their power and not putting the best product on the floor for the fans, because LeBron James and Anthony Davis played on Wednesday night. And Russ Westbrook didn’t play, but from all accounts, nobody in the hoops world thinks he should even be on the floor, so that’s a win-win. 

Then Stephen A. went after LeBron for his postgame interview where a frustrated King James said after the 107-105 loss to Portland on Wednesday night, that “I’m literally tired as hell right now. I just want to get some wine, get into bed and wake up tomorrow.” 

“When has he ever said that in his career?” Stephen A asked.  
“Man, if that doesn’t sound like a team with a star who thinks ‘this season is a wash, we ain’t going nowhere, it’s over,’ I don’t know what the hell does.”

That was some fancy footwork by Stephen A. Smith. He ingratiates himself further with the billionaire owners by going on a tirade and basically reinforcing every stereotype about the current crop of Black NBA players. Then he gives a co-sign to the owners (who are greedier and richer than everyone) to basically go for the jugular when the current CBA expires in 2023-24. His entire tirade implies that the players are no more than entitled brats who need to be put in their places. 

This will be an interesting dynamic to keep an eye on, as Stephen A. Smith has let it be known that he’s going to back the owners in this situation and somehow blame the players for not giving enough.  


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JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.