Bill Simmons is at it again. Someone unwisely left him alone with the NBA Trade Machine and he’s come up with what he believes would be a great Carmelo Anthony deal. The problem? It’s a horrendous trade that would be worst for Simmons’ least favorite team, the Los Angeles Lakers.
Here’s the deal Boston Bill proposed:
For a guy who constantly refers to himself as the Picasso of the NBA Trade Machine, he’s really awful at it. The three-way deal between the Lakers, New York Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers would almost certainly make all three teams worse. There are bad ideas, there are terrible ideas, then there’s the Pontiac Aztek and then there’s this trade idea. That’s where it ranks.
In this deal the Lakers — who have repeatedly said they won’t trade any of their young talent — give up a cheap scorer (Jordan Clarkson), an exciting, fan-favorite glue guy (Larry Nance Jr.) and a potential superstar (Brandon Ingram) in exchange for an overpaid injury risk (Blake Griffin) and an aging, ineffective Paul Pierce. What, exactly, is “perfect” about this trade?
The Lakers would take on nearly $48 million in salary, give up young emerging talent and not get any better in the process. Clarkson is 24 and averaging 13.9 points in 27.1 minutes this season, while Nance (also 24) has a PER of 15.9 in just 22.4 minutes a game. Throw in the 19-year-old Ingram who appears to finally be clicking at the NBA level (10.7 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 47.7 percent from the field in January) and you’d be shipping away the future for the oft-injured 27-year-old Griffin.
For some reason, “experts” like Simmons are convinced the Lakers are just looking for the first chance to unload all their young players for an All-Star or two. If that was the plan, they could have done it already. But two seconds of critical thinking would show that’s not what the Buss family and Mitch Kupchak plan on doing.
You don’t bring in a 36-year-old head coach like Luke Walton to try to wrangle aging former All-Stars. You bring him in to build something. Why give up young players for someone like Griffin or DeMarcus Cousins? So you can be stuck mid-table in the Western Conference? It’s far better to be bad and build than mediocre with no future.
The Lakers are going to ride with their youth and see where this group takes them, then attempt to add a piece or two as the occasion arises. D'Angelo Russell (20), Julius Randle (22), Ingram, Nance and Clarkson are the future of the franchise. It may take a while for them to reach star status, but everyone involved knew that when the rebuild began.
Once again, Simmons has tried to be far too clever. The trade he proposed is ridiculous.