Whenever a team’s season comes to a disastrous end, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith has a tendency to suggest drastic measures in an effort to get them back on track.
He made sure to stay true to this reputation on Friday when he said the Phoenix Suns should consider sending center Deandre Ayton back to his home country of The Bahamas.
The Suns were eliminated from the playoffs with an embarrassing 125-100 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Thursday. Considering the team is just two years removed from an NBA Finals appearance — in addition to the mid-season acquisition of superstar Kevin Durant — the second-round exit has been viewed as a failure. Ayton didn’t play in the final game due to a rib injury, but he’s been the subject of scrutiny due to his lackluster performance on offense and his inability to contain Nuggets center Nikola Jokic on defense.
Now, Smith thinks he should just go back home.
“That’s because of new ownership, and they may wanna go in a different direction, we don’t know,” Smith said during a discussion about the team’s future on First Take, “but I don’t think (Chris Paul) is safe and I don’t think that Deandre Ayton should be safe. You should be exhausting every means and measure to get rid of that dude. Send him to The Bahamas and tell him to stay there until you let him know where his next destination’s gonna be.”
Naturally, the idea took his colleagues by surprise. Monica McNutt simply shook her head and said, “Oh my goodness.” Kendrick Perkins laughed about it. First Take host Molly Qerim told him, “You always take it a little too far.”
“It’s true. It’s where he’s from,” Smith said. “He made his reservations before the series even began. That brother’s been in The Bahamas. He just didn’t tell us.”
Earlier in the playoffs, Smith said the Los Angeles Clippers should force Kawhi Leonard to retire when they were eliminated by the Suns. This came just a few days after he called Leonard one of the worst superstars in NBA history.
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