‘Ambitious’ Proposed NBA Trade Sends Lakers a $163 Million Star for Haul

Austin Reaves

Getty The Los Angeles Lakers may need to trade Austin Reaves to land another star.

The Los Angeles Lakers could look to trade for another star this offseason to play alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Bleacher Report released a list of one “ambitious” trade targets for every NBA team this offseason.

The Lakers were paired with Cleveland Cavaliers star guard Donovan Mitchell. Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale noted the Lakers trade package could include Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura and three first rounders.

“Three-star models are less tenable this side of the second-apron tax, but the Lakers are a special case study,” Favale wrote in a May 27, 2024 story titled, “1 Ambitious Trade Target for Every NBA Team.” “LeBron James is going into his age-40 season. “They won’t be tasked with floating a trio of superstar salaries for much longer.

“Other teams can (and will) dangle stronger packages for Mitchell. But he will have a hefty say in where he goes one year out from free agency. And for their part, the Lakers are armed with real stuff to offer—mainly some combination of three firsts, two swaps, five seconds, Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura.”

Lakers Rumors: Can LA Land Donovan Mitchell Via a Blockbuster Trade?

Mitchell has two seasons remaining on a five-year, $163 million contract and is slated to have a $35.4 million cap hit in 2024-25. The five-time All-Star can opt out of his deal in 2025 to become a free agent, foregoing the final year of his contract.

The Lakers would not only be trading for Mitchell’s remaining deal but likely would need to be on the hook for a lucrative contract extension. Unlike past trades for players like Russell Westbrook, acquiring Mitchell would give Los Angeles a legitimate third star.

It remains to be seen if the Cavaliers will look to deal Mitchell if the star does not sign a new contract extension this offseason. The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Joe Vardon and Jason Lloyd reported that there is a “growing sentiment” around the league that Mitchell will sign an extension.

“The Mitchell situation will be resolved this summer, and there is a growing sentiment around the league that the Cavaliers will be able to position themselves to receive his commitment for a lucrative contract extension that would keep him in Cleveland past his 30th birthday,” Charania, Vardon and Lloyd detailed in a May 15 article titled, “What’s next for Donovan Mitchell, J.B. Bickerstaff, Darius Garland and the Cavs?” “Teammates have described Mitchell this season as singularly focused on winning and wanting Cleveland to aim much higher than a first-round series victory for its measure of success.”

Cavaliers Rumors: Cleveland Will Explore Trades for Donovan Mitchell If the Star Does Not Sign an Extension

Cleveland.com’s Terry Pluto reported that the Cavs have “zero intention” of starting next season with Mitchell potentially entering the final season of his deal. This means Cleveland would likely explore trades for Mitchell this offseason if the star is unwilling to ink an extension.

“The Cavs star has one year left on his contract. I’ve been told the Cavs either would sign him to an extension this summer, or trade him,” Pluto noted in a May 24 article titled, “What do early indications about Donovan Mitchell’s future & the Cavs reveal?” “They have zero intention of opening the 2024-25 season with Mitchell heading into his free agent year.”

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported on May 15 that the Lakers are among the teams who would be prepared to make an offer for Mitchell if the star becomes available. With James potentially hitting NBA free agency, the pressure is on the Lakers to add more pieces this offseason.