Bill Simmons NBA Trade Value List, Summer 2022 Edition


You may have heard me mention my secret NBA 2022 business values ​​list on various podcasts, which eventually led Chris Ryan to compare the list to Avatar 2. I think that was an insult. Have I spent the past two months playing around with a top 50, then a top 60, then a top 64 while soliciting feedback from friends and colleagues? Maybe. Sunday evening Podcast B.S., I’ve worked on my final roster once and for all with Ryen Russillo. Definitely listen to this episode…

…just so you can hear Russillo telling me about Herb Jones as one of the top 50 real-time salespeople (god, I love Herb Jones) or me bumping up my Anthony Edwards ranking just by taking advantage of our mutual affection for him. Who needs advanced stats when someone can just argue, “Wait, we love this guy!!!” and does it really work? Me and Russillo debating the Anthony Edwards ceiling would be the worst First take episode ever. Or the best. You know what? That would be best.


Reminder: THIS IS NOT A PLAYER RANKING LIST. We have classified these 64 players as trading assets only. For example, LeBron came in 35th. That doesn’t mean LeBron is the 35th-best player in the NBA, just that he’s a 37-year-old star on an expiring contract who has already played more minutes than anyone but Kareem and the Mailman. Would Miami trade Bam Adebayo to lease LeBron’s 20th season? No. Would Toronto sacrifice Pascal Siakam for him? Probably not. Would Phoenix flip Mikal Bridges for a year from LeBron and hope he re-signs? That’s a juicy argument! For 22+ years, that’s been the purpose of the Business Value List. Again, THIS IS NOT A PLAYER RANKING LIST.

I relied on these six immutable rules to light the way for this summer’s list.

Rule no. 1: Salaries matter

Would you rather pay Bradley Beal $50 million a year or Jaylen Brown half that? Would you rather pay Trae Young as a max player or Evan Mobley for a rookie contract? Would you rather pay $36.5 million to Kyrie Irving or try to set your eyebrows on fire?

Rule no. 2: Age matters

Would you rather have Chris Paul for two more seasons or Darius Garland for the next 15? Would you rather have Giannis at 27 or Steph at 34? Would you rather I write this primer on business value at 35 or 52?

Rule no. 3: The duration of the contract matters, but not as much

Do you remember the good old days, when Raef Lafrentz’s ill-fated seven-year extension started to trickle down the league like VD? Or when the Wizards pardoned Andray Blatche’s contract extension just as it was starting to go into effect? Stupid contracts aren’t as long or intimidating anymore with the new ABC. You can usually get out of it. Well, unless they’re for Russell Westbrook.

For trade value purposes in 2022, contract length can be positive (any quality player who’s locked in for two or more years), question mark (any expiring deal, like LeBron’s until the next summer), or a huge, jaw-dropping, “Wait, is Spotrac broken or are those the real numbers?” extension (like Portland paying Dame Lillard $121.7 million guaranteed just in 2025-26 and 2026-27). But it’s rarely an aggressive deterrent.

Rule no. 4: Happiness matters more than ever

In 2022, which is the age of player empowerment, franchises are more wary of trading for a potentially disgruntled guy. You could blame a bunch of people for that, but let’s just blame James Harden – he made history shamelessly leaving two teams in 15 months, then got dealt for Ben Simmons (seated this season in Philadelphia with a bruised ego ). Basically there is PHS (Pre–Harden-Simmons) and AHS (After Harden-Simmons).

In Year 72 PHS, Toronto rolled the dice on a disgruntled, possibly hobbled Kawhi Leonard and stole the 2019 title. Would any team behave so boldly in Year 1 AHS? What is Kawhi’s business value when 29 other teams know he’s coming off a torn ACL, making big money and loving Southern California? Does that sound like an attractive risk for, say, Detroit? I did not mean it. Nobody wants a potentially unhappy star. That’s why Kyrie’s signing and swapping list was greeted with as much excitement as a bare-knuckle meeting on Twitter with Elon Musk. We almost need a Happy Value side list.

Rule no. 5: Bizarre real trades SHOULD affect the roster

The Timberwolves just paid 225 cents on the dollar for Rudy Gobert (last six playoffs: 1-5), then hilariously bragged about how they retained Jaden McDaniels afterwards. If the Celtics made such a trade, you would find me in the fetal position in the middle of the Pine Barrens forest 80 hours later. I had Gobert in the mid 40’s before this bathsalt trade. Today? He has to crack the top 30, right? How could Minnesota trade him now? And how could Brooklyn trade KD for less? Even KD straight for Jaden McDaniels wouldn’t be enough.

Rule no. 6: Focus on degrees

Imagine that the league has adopted the following rule: for 24 hours, any player can be traded with no cap ramifications, but with luxury tax and next day cap ramifications. If Team A says to Team B, “We’ll trade you Player X for Player Y,” will Team B close the deal? For example, a Trae Young-Jrue Holiday trade wouldn’t happen, but the Bucks would at least say, “Wow, is Trae available?” while the Hawks would say, “Why would we do that?” It is important. The same goes for Trae’s inevitable sarcastic tweet when someone captures that paragraph completely out of context and pastes it into their Twitter replies. What’s up, Trae?

As always, the 2022 business value list works in reverse order. That means if Brandon Ingram is no. 21, then players nos. 1 in 20 are all guys that New Orleans masterminds would either say, “We hate to give up on Brandon, but let’s have a reunion ASAP” or “Done!” Call that deal!” And the Pelicans certainly wouldn’t deal it directly for any player listed between Nos. 22 and 64.

Last note: I apologize for not blowing this in a 7,000 word column. My fingers barely work. Even typing those 15 paragraphs took me two months and 129 drafts. But that’s not my FINAL list for 2022 either, just a taste of how we’ll look as the scorching days of summer approach. Could this mean an actual column is coming later this year? Who the hell knows? If a 58-year-old Pete Mitchell can defeat the land of Urania, then anything is possible.

For now, here’s the list of the 64 names from Sunday’s podcast, in descending order, separated into 12 groups.

Honorable Mention

Kyle Kuzma
Jaden McDaniels
Alex Caruso
Nikola Vucevic
Gary Trent Jr.
John Collins
CJ McCollum
Ben Mathurin
Wendell Carter Jr.
Robert WilliamsIII
Seth’s Curry
Anfernee Simons
Dillon Brooks
Lu sleeps
De’Aaron Fox
Jonathan Kuminga
Keegan Murray

Dishonorable Mention

Kyrie Irving
Ben Simmons
James Harden

Top 64

Group L: Quality Beginners

64. Draymond Green
63. OG Anounoby
62. Deandre Ayton
61. Allen Shank
60. Fred VanVleet
59. DeMar DeRozan
58. Domantas Sabonis

Group K: The Upside Down Gang

57. Tyrese Haliburton
56. Tyrese Maxey
55.Herb Jones
54. Jaren Jackson Jr.
53. RJ Barrett
52. Franz Wagner
51. Josh Giddey

Group J: The Ginobilis (Playoff Guys)

50. Tyler Herro
49. Jordan Poole
48. Desmond Scourge
47. Smart Marcus
46. ​​Jalen Brunson
45. Andrew Wiggins
44. Mikal Bridges

Group I: The Westbrooks (regular season guys)

43.Bradley Beal
42. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
41. Jaden Ivey
40. Dejoute Murray

Group H: “Sorry, he’s worth more to us than to you”

39. Chris Paul
38. Damien Lillard
37. Kris Middleton
36. Jamal Murray
35. LeBron James
34. Donovan Mitchell

Group G: “Too young, too cheap, too good… Please stop calling us”

33. LaMelo Ball
32.Jabari Smith Jr.
31. Green Jalen
30. Darius Garland
29. Chet Holmgren
28. Paolo Banchero

Group F: “If you tell Woj, I’ll deny it to the death… but I’m listening”

27. Zach LaVine
26. Pascal Siakam
25. Rudy Gobert
24. Karl-Anthony Towns
23. Kawhi Leonard
22. Sion Williamson

Group E: “Let me save you some time: NO”

21. Brandon Ingram
20. Jrue Holiday
19. Jaylen Brown
18. Bam Adebayo

Group D: the real franchisees

17. Trae Young
16. Scottie Barnes
15. Cade Cunningham
14. Paul Georges
13. Jimmy Butler
12. Anthony Davis
11. Devin Booker

Group C: “We don’t trade it (but make us an offer)”

10. Kevin Durant

Group B: The Untouchables

9. Evan Mobley
8. Anthony Edwards
7. Jayson Tatum
6. Joel Embiid
5. Ja Morant

Group A: Completely and utterly untouchable

4. Steph Curry
3. Nikola Jokic
2. Luka Doncic
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo