The Los Angeles Clippers crashed out of the playoffs on Tuesday night, despite their best efforts against the Phoenix Suns. With Kawhi Leonard and Paul George out, though, it was always going to be tough for the Clippers to beat the high-powered Suns. Many fans have been critical of Leonard for having to miss the final three games of the series, but it seems Stephen A. Smith‘s latest wild take on Leonard pushed JJ Redick over the edge.
Smith has been calling out Leonard consistently ever since the initial news of his ankle injury broke, labeling him the worst superstar ever, and taking things further when suggesting the Clippers should make their star forward retire. Redick, being a former NBA player himself, clearly didn’t appreciate Smith’s comments, and took a few minutes to lambast Smith for his ridiculous take on Leonard.
.@jj_redick responds to @stephenasmith saying Kawhi Leonard needs to be forced into retirement: pic.twitter.com/OrkcQRMclc
— First Take (@FirstTake) April 26, 2023
Smith’s takes on Leonard were pretty awful to begin with, but suggesting that Leonard should be forced to retire, even after the full details of his torn meniscus surfaced, is just outrageous. Despite what everyone wants to say about the trends of load management, it’s clear Leonard would have played had he been able to, and that’s the point Redick attempts to push across here.
Redick does a good job explaining why Smith’s takes on Leonard are in such poor taste, but given how Smith is notorious for his outlandish takes, it seems unlikely he will be fully swayed to drop his stance here. Either way, the Clippers will be hoping Leonard can get healthy over the offseason before making a championship push yet again next season.
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