As a banned journalism movement, I’m going to stick the knife to the heart of this story in the first paragraph. Maybe 7 years. Too many variables. I have no idea what the picks Cleveland sent to Utah would look like. I’m not sure Donovan Mitchell will be happy staying in Cleveland long term. I have a lot of questions.
But from where we stand today, it’s a good day for Donovan Mitchell and the Cavaliers.
Here are the winners and losers from the blockbuster Mitchell Trade to the Cavaliers. First, the deal looks like this:
The Cavaliers will receive: Donovan Mitchell
Jazz reception: Three unprotected first-round picks (2025, 2027, 2029), two pick swaps (2026 and 2028), Lauri Markkanen, Collin Sexton, and Ochair Agbaji.
Winner: Donovan Mitchell
He wanted out of Utah. It may be before the Rudy Gobert trade, but it’s definitely after the trade.
Cleveland is neither New York nor Miami (his preferred destination), but Cleveland does give Mitchell a chance to join a team that will be in the mix for years near the top of the East. Mitchell is slated to play in important games for a team that could be a favorite coming out of the East in a few years as the team grows and develops.
Landing in Cleveland is a win for Mitchell.
And if he gets unhappy in a few years, Mitchell can be forced out (this contract has three years left and a player option fourth season). Reports from Cleveland say Mitchell is excited about the prospect of playing for the Cavaliers, and he hinted at it on Twitter.
!! ️ https://t.co/5lqkyvBvSP
— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) September 1, 2022
Plus, Cleveland has better pierogi than New York or Miami.
Winner: Cleveland Cavaliers
It was a bold move for the Cavaliers, one they could afford, and a smart one as the 25-year-old Mitchell wouldn’t change the timeline for this young core.
No elite free agent comes to Cleveland other than that “child of Akron.” GM Kobe Altman has smart draft picks in Darius Garland and Evan Mobley (Mobley was clearly nominated for their position, to be fair) and Jarrett Allen with the 30th pick in the draft. We’ve built this team on smart deals that have earned us. The Cavaliers needed another star to become a real threat in the East, and Mitchell can be that guy.
Cleveland had the 19th-best offense in the NBA last season, and Garland was the leading (and only) shot creator. The Cavaliers now have one of the most dynamic backcourts in the NBA, with two players capable of shooting, driving and prepping teammates from his three levels. The risk in this backcourt is that both Mitchell and Garland, at his 6’1″, are not great defenders. This could be Portland East (where Damien Lillard and CJ McCallum were amused to see they had caps in the postseason because of Portland’s size and size). defense). Mobley and Allen’s front line can help here. They are elite rim protectors his two mobile his big. Last season, the Cavaliers had a poor defensive backcourt, placing him sixth in the league. Such trends are likely to continue.
How good the Cavaliers are in three to four years depends on two factors: 1) Can Mitchell be kept after signing? 2) How good is Mobley? He could be an elite defensive player, but could he be the #1 option offensively? Garland and Mitchell are All-Star level players, but they are not necessarily franchise cornerstones and are among the top 10 players in the league. Mobley has the potential to do so. The Cavaliers also need to find quality 3&D wings for him to match his four other starting pitchers.
Loser: New York Knicks fan (and possibly the Knicks)
Leon Rose and Knicks stood their ground and didn’t overpay for their stars. If you’re a fan of the New York Knicks, you can think of it positively as a departure from the organization’s past bad patterns. The argument can be strengthened by saying that eight draft picks (and promising young players like Quinten Grimes and Obi Toppin) are still out there. They can be used in future trading.
But Mitchell was the player the Knicks were going for — his relationship with New York, his relationship with CAA, and he was there, wanting to play a star role in New York City. was the sexy new thing that was mostly wanted and was lagging behind. Many of his Knicks fans reacted like Stephen A. Smith.
It’s F$&@Knicks! This happens all the time! pic.twitter.com/F7HShDVpOS
— Stephen A. Smith (@stephenasmith) September 1, 2022
Knicks swung and missed. Rose played it tight, putting only two unprotected first round picks into the mix at the end (It may have been three early on, but that has changed.), bet that no one else will offer more, and set artificial deadlines. The Knicks extended RJ Barrett when the Jazz missed that deadline. Nicks thought jazz would be back on the dance floor, and he did so with a new partner. Rose miscalculated.
Nick stepped up this offseason with the addition of Jalen Brunson. But the Hawks did much better with the addition of Dejounte Murray to team up with Trae Young.The Cavaliers are much better with Mitchell and Garland in the backcourt. The Knicks weren’t keeping up with the East’s best. With the Knicks getting the next available All-Star and he being the better (or fitter), this could work, but arguably, the front runners were a mistake and so Mitchell. I didn’t let it land.
Winner: Utah Jazz
Danny Ainge wanted a pick. he got the pick.
It can be argued whether the unprotected Knicks’ two picks are better than the Cavaliers’ three. But Ainge is stockpiling six unprotected stocks, one top five stock, and a series of swap stocks this summer. Plus, jazz still has its own picks. It’s going to be about drafts and development, but the Jazz are on a deep rebuilding road, and in that context this deal is going well (even if it wasn’t what they wanted).
Another winner in Utah is new coach Will Hardy. If he had to start training camp with Mitchell on the roster, it would have been a circus and he would have spent half an hour answering Mitchell’s questions each day. I got a blank slate to do.
Loser: Lauri Markkanen
The best player ever from Finland is a solid NBA player who was asked to play out of position as 3 last season in Cleveland. Now he’s been traded to the Jazz, who are expected to flip him elsewhere before the February trade deadline. Markkanen may be making his early debut in Utah and pushing the numbers, but that’s just to ensure he’s on the move again (his contract this season is $16.5 million, and he’ll be out for the next two years). is slowly increasing, making him a very tradeable player).
Markkanen is always on the go, so you may want to keep your ‘go bag’ by your door this season.
Winner: Colin Sexton
Sexton had to play and prove himself to win the $7.2 million qualifying offer and hoped to find a payday next summer. Instead, he signed his four-year, $72 million contract extension as part of the trade. Good day to be Colin Sexton.