Quiet Lakers trade deadline could mean more competition for Knicks in star hunt

Are the Lakers looking ahead to the summer?
New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Rob Pelinka
New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Rob Pelinka / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages

The 2024 trade deadline has oddly been quiet. It doesn't seem like a star will be on the move, but instead, a flurry of role players. The New York Knicks could be one of the teams to make a trade for a role player as they wait until the offseason to see which stars could be available.

Donovan Mitchell is a player who has been linked to the Knicks for the past couple of years. He would've been in New York in 2022 if he had his way. He won't get to choose his destination if the Cavaliers trade him, but you can expect the Knicks to be in the mix (again).

The Lakers haven't been mentioned as a potential landing spot for Mitchell. Well, until now. On Wednesday, CBS Sports' Bill Reiter reported that the 27-year-old All-Star could impact LA's trade deadline plans.

Los Angeles has been connected to Hawks guard Dejounte Murray, but it doesn't seem like he'll be on the move. If Reiter is right, LA could have shifted its attention to Mitchell, who may or may not sign an extension with Cleveland in the offseason.

Lakers reportedly believe they could have a shot at Donovan Mitchell offseason trade

The Cavaliers have been on a roll as of late, so at this point, Mitchell shouldn't be thinking about a trade (subscription required). That could change if Cleveland is another early playoff exit.

If Mitchell does hit the trade market, the Lakers wouldn't be able to offer more to the Cavaliers than the Knicks. New York has better draft assets to offer Cleveland, but the Cavaliers would likely be more willing to send Mitchell to a non-conference opponent. That's the only advantage LA would have. Of course, a third team could be looped into a Lakers-Cavaliers deal to make it easier for LA to acquire Mitchell.

The truth is that the Lakers need to seriously think about trading for an impact player before the deadline rather than gamble on an offseason trade that may not happen. He seems invincible, but LeBron James' clock is ticking. There's no guarantee he'll be in LA next season, as he has a $51.4 million player option for 2024-25. It'd be better to strengthen the roster for another possible playoff push with LeBron and Anthony Davis at the helm.

New York's front office is more competent than LA's, which is why Mitchell didn't end up on the Knicks a year and a half ago. Don't bank on him being a Laker, Rob Pelinka!