3 Donovan Mitchell trade partners that make sense, 3 that don't

Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers and Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat
Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers and Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat / Rich Storry/GettyImages
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No. 3: The New Orleans Pelicans make sense

The teams most often linked to Donovan Mitchell this trade season have been big markets. The assumption has been that Mitchell, as most NBA stars are wont to do, favors re-signing with a large market team. That's a reasonable assumption, but Mitchell hasn't actually done anything to communicate that, and there are still two playoff runs before he can become a free agent.

The New Orleans Pelicans are therefore a fascinating dark horse candidate to trade for Mitchell. CJ McCollum is aging and not the ideal fit as the primary on-ball creator. The Pelicans have a lot of talent, from Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram on offense to Herbert Jones and Dyson Daniels on defense, and Trey Murphy II on both.

They can afford to trade for Mitchell, with players and a deep warchest of draft picks, and still look like a team ready to contend. That makes them a trade partner that makes a lot of sense, and it would not be a surprise to hear they are making overtures to Cleveland already.

No. 3: The Los Angeles Lakers don't make sense

The Los Angeles Lakers are a big market. They have a history of star-hunting. They are having a disappointing season but could still reasonably contend for a title with the right pieces around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Those are the ingredients to include the Lakers in a Donovan Mitchell trade discussion; that is, until the quesiton of what the Lakers have to offer comes up.

The Lakers have one impressive young player in Austin Reaves, one solitary future first-round pick that they can trade, and otherwise a collection of salaries that Cavaliers will not want. The Lakers will and should call around and dream big, but there is no chance that the Cavs would deal Mitchell to the Lakers given what they can offer.

The other option, floated by Bill Simmons this past week and one that we evaluated in full here, is that the Lakers could trade LeBron James to the Cavaliers for Mitchell. That idea is not only far-fetched, it's ludicrous for the Cavaliers to even consider. There is a lot of uncertainty swirling around the Cavaliers and Donovan Mitchell, but one thing is certain: he will not be traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.