Lakers ‘at the Front of the Line’ if 5-Time All-Star Hits Trade Market: Report

Rob Pelinka, Los Angeles Lakers

Getty Vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka of the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Los Angeles Lakers will be among the frontrunners to trade for five-time All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell if the Cleveland Cavaliers make him available, according to The Athletic’s Jason Lloyd.

“If Mitchell doesn’t sign an extension with Cleveland this summer, the Cavs will have to explore trade options—and one of the teams standing at the front of the line will be the Lakers. It’s possible, given Mitchell’s current condition with his calf, that he has already played his final game in a Cavs jersey,” Lloyd wrote on May 14.

Lloyd added that “it’s possible, given Mitchell’s current condition with his calf, that he has already played his final game in a Cavs jersey.”

Mitchell sat out Monday night’s Game 4 with a calf strain and watched helplessly from the bench as the Boston Celtics took a commanding 3-1 series lead in their Eastern Conference semifinals. It will be a miracle if he plays in Boston in Game 5 facing elimination.

Mitchell is eligible to sign a four-year extension worth roughly $200 million this summer.

He was non-committal when he was asked in March.

If he does not sign it, the Cavaliers will be in a tough spot. Mitchell would enter the final guaranteed year of his existing five-year, $163 million deal. He has a $37 million player option for the 2025-26 season that he’s not expected to pick up.

Donovan Mitchell Identified as 1 of Lakers’ Star Targets

On January 23, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported the Lakers’ interest in Mitchell as one of their preferred star targets this summer.

“The Lakers have discussed internally the possibility of packaging three picks, along with players they already have on their books, to pursue a bona fide star, such as Donovan Mitchell of the Cleveland Cavaliers or Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks, team sources told ESPN,” McMenamin wrote.

The Lakers stood their pat at the trade deadline and kept their pick. They will have three first-round picks to bundle in a potential package for Mitchell or Young if they hit the trade market.

LeBron James is Donovan Mitchell’s Favorite NBA Player

Mitchell would welcome playing for the Lakers alongside his favorite NBA player LeBron James.

That is if James stays in Los Angeles.

The 39-year-old Lakers superstar has a $51.4 million player option which he needs to exercise or decline by June 29. The Athletic previously reported the Lakers are open to re-signing James to the maximum three-year, $164 million contract he is eligible to receive once he opts out.

Mitchell openly said in the past that James was his favorite NBA player growing up. He even attended James’ “The Decision” in 2010.

“I went to the school where he had his decision,” Mitchell Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix, who was still with Yahoo Sports during a 2018 interview. “I begged my mom he was my favorite player  and told her I wanted to go.”

Mitchell said he was probably the only kid who cheered for him to go to Miami out of that whole crowd.

“There were a lot of New York Knicks fans, a lot of upset Cavaliers fans, I almost got hit with a Snapple bottle. I didn’t realize the impact it would have on basketball that night…but man it was a great night,” Mitchell continued.

Mitchell and James have big decisions to make this summer.