Grade the Trade: Mock deal has Lakers winning fierce Mitchell sweepstakes

The Los Angeles Lakers are looking for star power on the trade market this summer. Could they go after a high-scoring guard from LeBron's old team?
Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers
Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers / Nick Cammett/GettyImages
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Do the Lakers make this trade?

The Los Angeles Lakers need to do something big this summer. They cannot afford to sit back and take the "long" view. The Cleveland Cavaliers tried to do that and it blew up in their faces when LeBron James left for the Lakers. When you have a player like LeBron on your team, you push in all the chips and try to win a title. That doesn't mean they get desperate, but it does mean the priority is placed on competing while he is still in his prime. It may seem like that prime will go on forever, but the clock is ticking.

That third star the Lakers go after almost has to be a guard, to allow them to build around that player and balance out the floor. LeBron has been at his best alongside another perimeter shot creator, be that Dwyane Wade or Kyrie Irving, and Donovan Mitchell absolutely fits the bill.

Mitchell is one of the league's most bold and dynamic scorers with the ball in his hands, an audacious 3-point shooter and someone who can heat up in a moment. In 10 games this postseason he averaged 29.6 points per game, hit three triples per contest and willed a short-handed and ill-fitting team into the second round and even to a Game 2 win over the Boston Celtics. He is not afraid of the stage, something that will be crucial for any player added to a LeBron James team.

Mitchell is also just 27 years old, so any concern about the franchise long-term can be allayed by targeting Mitchell. He and Anthony Davis can continue to excel even when LeBron retires or loses his effectiveness. His winsome personality and energy seem ready-made for Los Angeles and he would fit perfectly into the legacy of shooting guards this franchise has built up.

The question here is cost. Is it reasonable for the Lakers to trade three unprotected first-round picks on top of Austin Reaves for a single player who, although truly dynamic, is not a Top-10 player in the league (although almost certainly solidly in the Top 20)? Add in that he can technically become a free agent next summer, whatever agreement is in place, and that's a lot to pay.

The Lakers aren't getting a trophy for asset management, though, and winning a trade doesn't equal winning a title. They need to find a way to add the best player available on the trade market -- talent and fit -- and go after that player. That doesn't mean being reckless, but it certainly means being aggressive and it may mean overpaying. Right now, barring something unexpected in Phoenix or Milwaukee, Mitchell looks like the best player on the trade market.

The Lakers should go out and get him. This deal is expensive, but it's the right move to make. And maybe, just maybe, it will result in another trophy for a franchise and a superstar that are very used to win

Grade: A-

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