Lakers Prefer $163 Million Star Over Trae Young: Report

The Los Angeles Lakers would prefer Donovan Mitchell over Trae Young if both stars become available this summer, according to The Athletic’s Jovan Buha.


“So, I’ve heard in recent weeks that Donovan has become the Lakers [preferred target] should they go down the three-star path and it’s still unclear,” The Athletic’s Lakers reporter said on “Buha’s Block” on May 17. “I think they’re gonna kick the can down the road and see the possibility and what the asking price is. And there are teams that can outbid them if they get into a bidding war.

But if they do go down that road, and at least explore it, Donovan Mitchell would be the preferred guy. Whereas several months ago, Trey Young was a name we’re hearing a lot and Dejounte Murray was the name they looked at leading up to the [trade] deadline.”


Mitchell, a five-time NBA All-Star, has one guaranteed year left on his five-year, $163 million deal he signed with the Utah Jazz before he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. He is eligible for a $208 million, five-year extension this summer.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported on “Get Up” on May 15 that plenty of teams, including the Lakers, have their offers ready in case Mitchell does not extend in Cleveland and the Cavaliers put him on the trade block

Donovan Mitchell’s Potential Fit and Risks

Mitchell, a dynamic scorer and playmaker, would ease the burden on LeBron James, who will turn 40 next season, and Anthony Davis. While Mitchell is not an All-Defensive Team-caliber player like Murray, the Cavaliers star is bigger than Young, who is a defensive liability.


“The more I’ve thought about it, I think the risk with the three-star build is it’s a higher ceiling, lower floor, where the floor is like what we just saw with the Phoenix Suns, where you invest in three guys and you don’t nail the supporting cast,” Buha said.

Despite featuring Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal, the Suns were swept in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. The Lakers were just one win better than them in the playoffs with only James and Davis as their stars.

Lakers’ Potential Package

With no shortage of suitors for Mitchell should the Cavaliers elect to trade him if the five-time NBA All-Star does not extend this summer, the Lakers would have to include all their available first-round picks.

Austin Reaves, Jalen Hood-Schifino and Rui Hachimura could be the matching salaries if D’Angelo Russell does not pick up his $18.7 million player option and walk away from the Lakers this offseason.

If the Lakers could pull off a Mitchell trade, they would still be left with Jarred VanderbiltChristian WoodGabe Vincent and potentially Max Christie, if they match whatever offer he gets in restricted free agency, as their supporting cast.

The Lakers would have to hit at least three of the minimum roster guys — a capable backup big man behind Davis, a 3-and-D wing and a point guard — to round out their roster.

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