Lakers: How LA Stars Stack Up In Bill Simmons’ Trade Value Rankings
The order surprised yours truly.
Bill Simmons of The Ringer came out of writing semi-retirement to unleash a brand-new edition of his Trade Value Rankings upon the world, just a week before the February 9th deadline for the 2022-23 season.
Only two Lakers make Simmons’s trade value rankings this time around. You can probably guess who.
Simmons places 38-year-old LeBron James squarely in his “Sorry, He’s Worth Way More To Us Than To You” group of players, ranking him 36th overall. He notes that James remains a huge box office draw, and is extending the limits of NBA All-Star longevity. Simmons does take a dig at LBJ’s moviemaking choices (to be fair, the “Space Jam” and “House Party” reboots don’t exactly have any defenders though, do they?), and again pummels the 19-time All-Star for inking that two-year extension prior to the start of the season. Given that these Lakers will have an uphill battle to win a title any time soon, even if they add a certain controversial point guard via trade, Simmons wonders whether James will be happy if he doesn’t at least get a fifth NBA title.
To my surprise, Anthony Davis makes the top 20, coming in at No. 18, in Simmons’s “Lemme Save You Some Time: F-U-C-K-N-O” group (i.e. the front offices of the players in this group would turn down any trade overtures striving to pry them loose. Simmons notes that Davis remains a terrific player, but has been hampered by a combination of bad roster-building luck and uneven health.
One other depressing little Lakers side-swipe Simmons doles out (in his De’Aaron Fox paragraph) that is, frankly, kind of insane: no Lakers first-round draft pick has stuck around with the team for more than four seasons since Jim Buss’s pet project Andrew Bynum. Considering how many of those players evolved into really solid pros (All-Stars Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell; solid starters like Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, Lonzo Ball; and good role players like Larry Nance Jr.) that’s very much an indictment of LA’s various front offices in the intervening years.
As with everything Simmons does, the whole list is well worth a gander. Especially if you love some “Heat” and “Boogie Nights” references sprinkled into your NBA analysis.
If you’re wondering which young superstar occupies pole position this year, here’s a hint: I was pleasantly surprised that Simmons chose the best player in the world, instead of the guy he has been pushing to win the 2023 MVP all year. Sometimes the right answer is the easiest one.