Report: Lakers showing interest in Donovan Mitchell

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read

The Los Angeles Lakers reportedly are interested in Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell.

Mitchell, a three-time All-Star, could be on the move this offseason with the Jazz trending towards a rebuild in the Western Conference.

Utah traded away star center Rudy Gobert for a massive haul of draft picks from the Minnesota Timberwolves earlier this offseason, and it could signal that the team is willing to move on from Mitchell sooner rather than later.

However, Utah doesn’t have a timeline that it necessarily needs to move Mitchell by, as he is under contract with the team through the 2024-25 season and has a player option for the 2025-26 campaign.

It’s understandable that the Lakers would be interested in a player of Mitchell’s caliber, but it’s hard to see a path for Los Angeles to deal for the All-Star guard.

The issue for the Lakers is their lack of assets in terms of draft capital and young players compared to those of other teams. Los Angeles is still feeling the effects of the Anthony Davis trade which led to it trading several first-round picks to the New Orleans Pelicans.

While Davis helped bring the Lakers a NBA title, Los Angeles has handcuffed itself by also trading for Russell Westbrook last offseason. Westbrook is owed over $47 million in the 2022-23 season, and teams have been reluctant to make a deal for him without draft capital being included in the trade.

The Lakers have two first-round picks that they could move in the 2027 and 2029 NBA Drafts, but even that isn’t close to a reported offer from another team in the Mitchell sweepstakes, the New York Knicks.

New York reportedly offered five first-round picks as well as Obi Toppin and Evan Fournier to Utah in a deal for Mitchell. Los Angeles would have a hard time matching that offer without including Davis to offset the lack of picks the team can trade.

Trading Davis for Mitchell wouldn’t make any sense for Los Angeles, which is why its interest in Mitchell can’t be taken too seriously in terms of an actual deal getting done.

During the 2021-22 regular season, Mitchell averaged 25.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game while shooting 44.8 percent from the field and 35.5 percent from beyond the arc.

There’s no doubt that he’s an elite scorer that would provide a ton of value alongside LeBron James and Davis in Los Angeles. However, unless the Lakers find a way to accumulate more assets, or one of their young players (Austin Reaves, Kendrick Nunn, Talen Horton-Tucker to name a few) starts to draw significant interest from Utah, a Mitchell deal is basically a pipe dream for Lakers fans.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.