Lakers forced to change course with rumored trade targets off the board

The Los Angeles Lakers have been linked to All-Star free agents entering the 2024 NBA offseason. With those stars off the board, the Lakers must change course.
Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers
Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages

Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka has swung for the fences throughout his tenure. He traded a promising young core to acquire Anthony Davis, parted with first-round draft picks in deals for D'Angelo Russell, Dennis Schröder, and Russell Westbrook, and attempted to hire two-time defending National Champion head coach Dan Hurley.

With the offseason as close as one game away, however, it appears as though that strategy will need to be modified with a rapidly declining list of potential trade targets.

Los Angeles has been linked to several All-Stars in enduring trade rumors and speculation. That includes Atlanta Hawks guards Dejounte Murray and Trae Young, Chicago Bulls shooting guard Zach LaVine, and New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram.

According to Michael Scotto of Hoops Hype, two more players who have consistently appeared in Lakers trade rumors are no longer available for discussions: Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell.

"Several rival executives believe Donovan Mitchell will sign an extension with Cleveland. The belief is Mitchell, who just completed his seventh season, will sign a max extension for at least the next three seasons, which would put him at 10 years of service and eligible for more money on his next contract due to CBA rules."

Scotto continued:

"Cleveland has continued to tell teams they’re not trying to move Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen, league sources told HoopsHype."

The Cleveland Cavaliers guards have been at the heart of endless speculation, but the Lakers will need to find different options if this report holds true.

Mitchell has been one of the marquee trade targets for the Lakers in the aftermath of a season in which rumors spread about his discontent in Cleveland. A five-time All-Star who ranks among the most productive scorers in postseason history, the fit was obvious.

After the Cavaliers parted ways with head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, however, the effort was quickly made to keep Mitchell in town—and it appears to be paying off.

Garland was a fascinating target in his own right as a Klutch Sports client who's in the second season of a five-year, $197.2 million contract. Still just 24 years of age, Garland has already been an All-Star and is among the best scorers and facilitators at his position.

After a 48-win season in which the Cavaliers won a playoff series for the first time since 2018, however, it's understandable why the franchise is opting to run the roster back.

Thankfully for the Lakers, the shift in priorities arrived before the news of Garland and Mitchell's future was revealed. Pelinka is reportedly foregoing the star-chasing route in favor of a deep roster that can rival what the likes of the Boston Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves have constructed.

Whether or not that proves to be the case, two All-Stars are no longer options for the Lakers to pursue—and that at least somewhat changes the offseason outlook.