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    Donovan Mitchell

    Cavaliers Owner Dan Gilbert Unlikely to Trade Donovan Mitchell to Lakers Despite Interest

    May 21, 2024

    The Cleveland Cavaliers’ owner, Dan Gilbert, has reportedly made it clear that he has no intention of trading star player Donovan Mitchell to the Los Angeles Lakers, where Mitchell would potentially join forces with LeBron James. This sentiment was reported by Ashish Mathur of Hoops Wire, who cited a source stating that Gilbert “would never” consider such a trade.

    Mitchell, who remains under contract with the Cavaliers through the 2024-25 season with a player option for the 2025-26 season, is currently eligible for a contract extension. This extension could secure his presence in Cleveland for the foreseeable future. However, if Mitchell chooses not to extend his contract, the Cavaliers might consider trading him to avoid losing him for nothing in free agency.

    Despite the uncertainty surrounding Mitchell’s future, recent reports indicate that Cleveland is optimistic about retaining their star player. One NBA executive described the Cavaliers’ outlook as “weirdly optimistic,” suggesting that the franchise believes they have a good chance of keeping the five-time All-Star.

    Should Mitchell become available for trade, he would be a highly coveted asset. The Athletic’s Jovan Buha reported that the Lakers would prioritize acquiring Mitchell if they decide to pursue a third star to complement LeBron James and Anthony Davis. “I’ve heard in recent weeks that Donovan has become, if the Lakers go down the three-star path…the preferred guy,” Buha noted, contrasting this with earlier reports linking the Lakers to other stars like Trae Young and Dejounte Murray.

    The Lakers face their own offseason uncertainties, with LeBron James potentially opting out of his player option to become an unrestricted free agent. Nevertheless, reports suggest that the Lakers are operating under the assumption that James will remain with the team.

    Mitchell has been a critical component of the Cavaliers’ success, leading them to consecutive playoff appearances. However, the team has yet to progress beyond the second round. Mitchell’s value is evident in his impressive stats for the 2023-24 season, where he averaged 26.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game while shooting 46.2 percent from the field and 36.8 percent from three-point range.

    The prospect of trading Mitchell, should he not extend his contract, presents a significant strategic decision for the Cavaliers. As one of the NBA’s premier guards, Mitchell would attract substantial interest from other teams, ensuring a robust trade market. However, Gilbert’s reported stance against sending Mitchell to the Lakers suggests that any potential trade would exclude certain high-profile destinations.

    Mitchell’s contractual situation also plays a crucial role in his future. If he becomes a free agent in 2025, he stands to make a maximum of five years and $269.9 million with a team that holds his Bird rights, which currently include the Cavaliers. Alternatively, he could sign for four years and $200.1 million with a new team.

    As the offseason approaches, the Cavaliers and their fans will closely monitor developments regarding Mitchell’s future with the team. Gilbert’s firm position on not trading Mitchell to the Lakers highlights the strategic considerations and potential complexities involved in any future moves. The handling of Mitchell’s situation will be pivotal in shaping the Cavaliers’ trajectory in the coming seasons.

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