The final installment of the WTP Sports NBA Trade Value series is here!
For those who haven’t read the first six parts, you’re missing out, here is the criteria: a combination of talent, age, contract status, and ability to put asses in seats. Again this is NOT a ranking of the best players, it is a ranking based on who I believe the majority of teams would prefer if they could choose to acquire a player for their team along with their contract. Another thing to consider is that there are more rebuilding teams than legit contenders, so young players have more value to a larger amount of the teams in the league boosting their ranking. The list is structured by categorizing players into tiers, which has similar players based on age, skill, and contract status. However, not all players in the same tier have the same value, so their actual ranking in the overall trade value list will be beside each player’s name.. When the series is over I will publish the whole list in order. Lastly, why did I rank the top 83 players? Because I wanted to.
Tier 2: The Consensus Top Two and Elite Young Players
8. Luka Doncic
I’m buying all the hype, Halleluka.
7. Kevin Durant
Impending and unpredictable free agency slots him at seventh, but he’s still the second best player in the world and worth more than any amount of money he can be paid under the salary cap.
6. Jayson Tatum
Did you know he’s only 20? Showed flashes of brilliance in his rookie campaign all the way through an improbable Conference Finals run without stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. Has fallen victim to Kobe-style hero ball, but he’s still an elite prospect with 3 years remaining on a rookie contract
5. Ben Simmons
Magic Johnson whose afraid to shoot. Still only 22 with two seasons of control worth less than $15 million. He’s already an All-Star level player in his “second season.” Without a jumper, he’ll still be a top 5 player, and if he can ever hit some midrange bunnies, he will be the best player in the NBA.
4. Joel Embiid
He’s the best center in the game by a pretty wide margin, and he knows it. He’s not afraid of the spotlight and talking trash, but his play backs it up. He’s in the first year of his max extension which has protections for injury because he notoriously only played 31 games in his first three seasons. Embiid has proven to be durable enough during the past season-and-a-half and has the potential to be in the Hakeem conversation.
3. LeBron James
34 years old and still the best player in the game. He’s under contract for 4 years and will be underpaid no matter how much he makes. The King makes your team an instant contender and still has elite value in year 16. Plus he will sell out every stadium which is very tough to do in some markets.
Tier 1: The Two Young Superstars
2. Anthony Davis
Davis is the talk of the league with all the speculation surrounding his uncertain future in New Orleans. Every team in the NBA would love to get its hands on the 25 year-old generational talent, but few teams will have the assets. The bidding war for Davis will be one that will be talked about for years to come and Davis might be the best player to hit the trade market since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Health and impending “pre-agency” is what knocks him a peg below our number one guy.
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo
The Greek Freak is a 24-year-old legitimate MVP candidate who is under one of the best contracts in the league for 3 more years. He is the only player to lead his team in all five major counting stat categories. Giannis has reiterated that loyalty is in his DNA, and that he loves Milwaukee. Unlike Davis, the Bucks have at least built a representative team around him, but let’s see how well Milwaukee fairs in the postseason. Regardless, Antetokounmpo is the best asset in the NBA today.