With the trade deadline rapidly approaching this Thursday, everyone is curious about what the Lakers are going to do. Will the front office mostly stand pat as they have during the last few deadlines? Or could the team look to sell off a few of their veterans such as Brandon Bass or Lou Williams in order to open up more minutes for their younger players?
One thing almost no one has been talking about is the possibility of the Lakers moving a member of their young core that includes D'Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, and to a lesser extent Larry Nance, Jr. and Anthony Brown. No one, that is, except for Bill Simmons of HBO.
The former ESPN writer and Grantland boss did an NBA trade deadline podcast featuring him and his friend House discussing their favorite fake trades, and his last one was a bit surprising.
"Here's my last trade. I think it's my favorite trade of all the trades. Jabari Parker for D'Angelo Russell straight up," said Simmons. "You can't [come up with a reason to not like it]. You won't be able to. It's a great trade."
At least statistically, the swap doesn't look totally crazy. Parker is playing about one minute more per game than Russell (28.8 versus 27.1), but despite them playing different positions, their statistical averages are fairly similar:
Parker is shooting a higher percentage overall (48.8 percent to Russell's 41.5), but Russell's true-shooting percentage is much closer (50.2 percent as compared to Parker's 52.5) due to the added value of his three-point shooting. The 19-year old guard has hit 33.2 percent of his 4.6 shots per game from behind the arc, while Parker has missed all seven of his three-pointers this season.
Parker is also asked to do less for the Bucks than Russell is for the Lakers, with a usage rate of 18.5 to D'Angelo's 23.6, which could potentially account for his slightly superior efficiency. Trades are fun to think about, but it's also important to remember that neither the Bucks nor the Lakers front office would be likely to consent to a move like this giving up on a second overall pick they selected so recently.
Simmons is not a reporter, he was just theorizing a trade he thinks would be good for both teams, and he also had another reason he wanted it to happen.
"We should all root for it because the moment D'Angelo Russell gets traded, he's going to unleash holy hell on Byron Scott," Simmons said. "It's going to be awesome. He's going to ruin him. He's going to say terrible things about him."
While most Lakers fans probably don't like Simmons trade proposal or think it's a good idea, given that Jordan Clarkson felt like he had to keep Russell from saying something crazy after the Rising Stars game, it's hard to disagree that his second point might hold some merit.
All stats per NBA.com. You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.