LeBron James, Anthony Davis


LeBron James, Anthony Davis


Getty

LeBron James (L) #23 and Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Most NBA markets only dream of the ability to attract the biggest names and brightest stars to their cities, but that’s the charmed existence that the Los Angeles Lakers actually live.

Still, even a glitzy and glamorous (not to mention monumentally successful) franchise like the Lakers retains the right to dream, sticking its collective and proverbial head in the clouds every so often to imagine what it would mean to score the ultimate trade target at the perfect time and deliver yet another championship banner to the rafters.

Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report on Monday, June 3, named that so-called “dream” target for Los Angeles this summer as combo guard Donovan Mitchell of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Finding a new alpha scorer is imperative for the Los Angeles Lakers this summer, as relying on a 40-year-old LeBron James as the primary offensive option can’t happen moving forward.

Donovan Mitchell is more than capable of playing this role, as he’d be the perfect third piece to play alongside James and Anthony Davis. Any trade for Mitchell is going to significantly impact the Lakers’ depth and future draft picks, however.

A package of Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura and multiple first-round picks would need to be on the table for the Cleveland Cavaliers to consider a deal, one that only happens if Mitchell refuses to sign an extension.


Cavaliers Owner Biggest Obstacle in Lakers’ Path to Donovan Mitchell

Donovan Mitchell against Lakers

Getty Donovan Mitchell of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrates during the fourth quarter of an NBA game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Mitchell’s play and his fit are each part of what make him a “dream” candidate for the Lakers. However, his availability and Cleveland’s willingness to ship him West to the same team that lured James out of Ohio six painful years ago could prove nightmares for L.A.

Mitchell is currently playing on a five-year, $163 million deal and remains under contract with the Cavs for the next two seasons. However, the final year of that agreement is a player option, meaning Mitchell can opt out and re-enter unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2025.

That is problematic for Cleveland, who gave up a massive asset package to the Utah Jazz to trade for Mitchell two seasons ago, as he could leave for nothing after just one more year. Most NBA insiders expect the Cavaliers to trade either Mitchell or Darius Garland this offseason, and the decision is likely to come down to whether Mitchell is willing to sign a long-term extension in the coming months and remain with the franchise indefinitely.

If he chooses not to do so, Mitchell is almost certainly bound for the trade block. But a recent report indicated that Cavs owner Dan Gilbert would be loathe to deal Mitchell to Los Angeles.

“A source told Hoops Wire that Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert ‘would never’ trade Mitchell to the Lakers,” Ashish Mathur reported on May 20.


Donovan Mitchell Has Been Elite Offensive Player in NBA for Years

donovan mithcell

GettyCleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell.

That attitude is not promising for the Lakers, considering there are other teams capable of topping their best offer to the Cavs for Mitchell, which truly renders him a “dream” trade candidate.

Of course, L.A. would have to sacrifice major pieces of their present roster and draft picks that will hamstring their future in any scenario in which Mitchell is actually on the table. But based on his offensive prowess, the three-star approach might be too tough for the Lakers to pass up if they get a chance at it.

Mitchell has been an All-Star in each of the previous five seasons and boasts a career scoring average of 24.8 points per game, according to Basketball Reference. Last season, he put up 26.6 points, 6.1 assists, 5.1 rebounds and 1.8 steals across 35.3 minutes of court time per night. Mitchell shot above 46% from the field, including nearly 37% from the 3-point line on 9 attempts per game.

While the Lakers may never be able to secure Mitchell’s offensive talents due to Gilbert’s position, the team may have a shot at Garland if he comes onto the market instead. Garland is also a combo guard, an offensive powerhouse and a former All-Star.

He put up 18 points per game last season, though he averaged north of 21.5 points per outing in each of the previous two years.

Max Dible covers the NFL, NBA and MLB for Heavy.com, with a focus on the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears and Cleveland Browns. He covered local and statewide news as a reporter for West Hawaii Today and served as news director for BigIslandNow.com and Pacific Media Group’s family of Big Island radio stations before joining Heavy. More about Max Dible



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