Despite boasting two surefire first-ballot Hall of Famers, two re-signed 25-year-old talents with untapped potential, and a roster filled with mid-level contract role players, Yossi Gozlan, an analyst at HoopsHype, suggests that the Los Angeles Lakers fall significantly short in terms of quality assets when compared to other NBA teams.
In HoopsHype’s recent ranking, the Lakers find themselves at a rather modest 25th place. This puts them ahead of only the Detroit Pistons, who possess numerous assets and young players, albeit none deemed blue-chip prospects. Furthermore, they rank above the Dallas Mavericks, a team with two star players known for their defensive shortcomings, one of whom carries an unmovable contract burden. The Mavericks also feature a roster with underwhelming veteran depth and a scarcity of their own draft selections.
The Los Angeles Clippers, a team characterized by two aging, injury-prone stars and a surplus of overpaid forwards, also lag behind the Lakers in the ranking. The Washington Wizards, in the midst of a rebuilding phase, and the enigmatic Chicago Bulls, whose intentions remain unclear, round out the teams situated below the Lakers.
Gozlan does acknowledge the positive trade value associated with Lakers stars Anthony Davis and LeBron James. However, he underscores that James’ age, now at 38 years old and potentially becoming the league’s oldest active player if Andre Iguodala officially retires, coupled with his extensive mileage and increasing injury history, diminishes his trade worth relative to AD. Surprisingly, Gozlan even suggests that 25-year-old starting shooting guard Austin Reaves, fresh from his stint with Team USA in the FIBA World Cup this summer, may possess greater league-wide trade value than LeBron James.
The Lakers’ standing in this ranking is adversely impacted by their limited tradable draft picks. These assets were traded away in deals involving the acquisition of Anthony Davis and the subsequent acquisition and departure of Russell Westbrook, whose contract proved to be less than desirable.
Apart from their trio of valuable starters, Gozlan identifies power forward Rui Hachimura, recently re-signed alongside Reaves on a long-term contract, and rookie first-round draft pick Jalen Hood-Schifino as the Lakers’ other trade-worthy assets.
It’s important to note that past evidence suggests that players like D’Angelo Russell, despite his relatively high salary, may find takers without requiring the Lakers to part with a draft pick. Additionally, newcomers Gabe Vincent and Taurean Prince joined the Lakers on team-friendly contracts, potentially carrying considerable trade value across the league. In light of these factors, it’s possible that the Lakers’ asset pool is somewhat undervalued in the current ranking.