How Donovan Mitchell extension opens door for Lakers to trade for Darius Garland

The Los Angeles Lakers have missed out on Donovan Mitchell, but the door isn't closed on a potential trade for All-Star point guard Darius Garland.
Orlando Magic v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Seven
Orlando Magic v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Seven / Jason Miller/GettyImages

Less than 48 hours into the official period of free agency, the Los Angeles Lakers are already in a position in which general manager Rob Pelinka will need to get creative. The Lakers' top free agent targets are officially off the market, and a prioritized trade preference is now unavailable, as well.

Thankfully for Pelinka, Donovan Mitchell signing an extension with the Cleveland Cavaliers may have actually opened the door to another opportunity.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported early on July 2 that Mitchell had signed a three-year, $150 million extension with the Cavaliers. It officially removed the five-time All-Star from the Lakers' radar, thus making a polarizing offseason all the more concerning.

In light of Mitchell signing an extension, however, a May 15 report via Shams Charania, Joe Vardon, and Jason Lloyd of The Athletic immediately springs to mind.

"Should Mitchell decide to stay long term, sources briefed on the matter say Garland’s representation, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, would have a conversation with Cavs officials on potentially finding a new home for the one-time All-Star."

Much could've changed over the past two months, but with Mitchell now signed long-term, it's time for the Lakers to check in on Darius Garland.

Darius Garland is the ideal All-Star trade target for the Lakers

In addition to his aforementioned report, Lloyd recently appeared on 92.3 The Fan and delivered intriguing news on the Garland front. He spoke about Garland's potential trade value as, "Down significantly," while acknowledging that Cleveland is still hoping for an ideal return.

With this in mind, reaching out to the Cavaliers about a potential trade for Garland, a Klutch Sports client, is bordering on essential for the Lakers to consider.

Garland is preparing to enter the second season of a five-year, $197,230,450 contract. He's due to make $36,725,670 in 2024-25, which Los Angeles could match with some combination of Rui Hachimura, D'Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Gabe Vincent.

Russell is the most likely candidate to be traded due to his $18,692,307 expiring salary and the fact that he made an All-Star game while playing for Kenny Atkinson, who was recently hired as head coach of the Cavaliers.

In terms of what Garland would bring to the Lakers, he's one of the best young offensive players in the NBA. The No. 5 overall selection averaged 18.0 points, 6.5 assists, 2.7 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 2.3 three-point field goals made on .446/.371/.834 shooting in 2023-24.

It was a downswing in production from the 21.6 points and 8.2 assists per game he averaged on .462/.396/.875 shooting over the previous two seasons, but his representation seems to believe that Mitchell played a factor in that decline.

In Los Angeles, Garland would be asked to come in and provide value as a sharpshooting lead guard who can score and facilitate at All-Star levels. It's also worth noting that he's due to make $6.3 million less in 2024-25 than fellow Lakers trade target Trae Young.

The question now, of course, is whether the Lakers can actually convince the Cavaliers to part ways with their potentially disgruntled All-Star point guard.