NBA trade targets: 5 realistic and 5 pipe dream options for teams to consider

LeBron James, Dejounte Murray
LeBron James, Dejounte Murray / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages
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Pipe Dream Trade Target: Donovan Mitchell

Ever since the summer of 2022, when the Cleveland Cavaliers traded for Donovan Mitchell, there have been rumors about his future with the team. Mitchell will be an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career in the summer of 2025 and teams are probably already making plans to sign him. 

That has led to speculation that the Cavaliers will look to trade him rather than risk losing him for nothing. Despite that, the Cavs are still in the top-four in the Eastern Conference and while they may have a tough time making it to the second round in a loaded East, they probably won't trade their best player before they absolutely have to.

However, were they to, the Knicks and Heat could be the top destinations for Mitchell but barring a surprise trade during the season, the earliest he could be on the move is this summer. If the Cavs believe that he will leave when he hits free agency or Mitchell tells them directly that he will, it would make sense for them to explore the trade market before the start of next season.

Doing so would ensure they get maximum return rather than risk diminishing returns. Looking at the Siakam trade, in which they received three first-round picks during the final season of his contract, the Cavs could expect a similar return, or better, depending on when they moved him.