The Utah Jazz have exchanged star monitor Donovan Mitchell to the Cleveland Cavaliers, as per various reports. The Cavaliers will send three players, three unprotected first-round picks and two pick trades consequently. The full announced breakdown:
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2025 first-round pick
2026 pick trade
2027 first-round pick
2028 pick trade
2029 first-round pick
The greatest return in the arrangement for Utah is free specialist Collin Sexton, who has consented to a four-year, $72 million sign-and-economic agreement to stay with the Jazz through the 2026-27 season, per Shams Charania of The Athletic.
The Jazz have stacked up on future draft resources this offseason subsequent to exchanging the two its All-Star players Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. Between the two arrangements, Utah has obtained seven first-round picks, three pick-trades and two players that were chosen in the primary round of the 2022 NBA Draft.
Cleveland, in the mean time, is hoping to fight at this moment. The 25-year-old Mitchell is one of the association’s first class scorers and his obtaining could put the Cavs, who dominated 44 matches last season with a youthful core, among the top groups in the stacked Eastern Conference.
There had been hypothesis for quite a long time that Mitchell could get moved, and it seemed the New York Knicks were the leader for him. Cleveland, in any case, took the action for the three-time All-Star.
Mitchell, who found the middle value of 25.9 focuses per game last season, will coordinate with All-Star point watch Darius Garland and he’ll cooperate with All-Star focus Jarett Allen and forward Evan Mobley, who had areas of strength for a season.
Good deal or bad deal for the Cavs?
Howard Beck: Great deal for Cleveland … albeit with a few, er, Cav-eats. (I am so, so sorry, but it was RIGHT THERE.) The Cavs were already an elite defensive team, thanks to Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley. Now they have a dynamic one-two scoring punch in Mitchell and Darius Garland. This is potentially a top-five team in the East. But, well, the caveats. Mitchell and Garland are both high-usage, ball-controlling guards, the former a three-time All-Star, the latter a newly minted All-Star who just had his best season. They’ll have some chemistry to work out, but it’s a deal the Cavs had to make.
Chris Herring: Good deal, but I’m not sure yet whether it’s a great one. The Cavs took a huge leap forward with defense and Darius Garland being the unquestioned leader on offense. By adding Mitchell, Garland will see his ball-handling responsibility split, and Cleveland’s defense weakens. Of course there’s more potential upside on offense now. But Mitchell has to buy into what the Cavs have built on D.
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Robin Lundberg: Good deal. While Garland and Mitchell might not be a perfect fit defensively, Cleveland has a versatile piece on that end in Evan Mobley and a presence inside with Jarrett Allen. It was a core that could use more scoring and playmaking, and considering it isn’t exactly a destination franchise, putting the chips in when there was a player available makes sense even if Spida isn’t without flaws.
Chris Mannix: Good deal. The Mitchell-Garland backcourt is undersized, but that matters less when you have a pair of defensive monsters in Allen and Mobley protecting them. If Garland, Mobley and Isaac Okoro take another step, they will be a conference contender. The question is what happens next summer, when Mitchell is extension eligible? What if he rejects a three-year extension? Do the Cavs hold onto him? Or will they flip Mitchell, with two years remaining on his contract, for the best offer?
Rohan Nadkarni: Good deal! The Cavs aren’t in a position to go out and get a talent like Mitchell often. It’s a sensible swing, the price is what a top-25 player costs in the current NBA. When you add in Mitchell’s age and the three years left on his deal, it becomes an even better gamble for Cleveland. Mitchell, Garland, Allen and especially Mobley all have some room to grow. It’s a group that could become a contender if given enough time. Considering the Cavs had few routes to add this kind of talent—and didn’t give up any All-Stars to do so—I don’t see how it’s a bad move.
Good deal or bad deal for the Jazz?
Herring: OK deal. And seemingly not the best one they could have had. Was this a scenario where Ainge was trying to stick it to the Knicks, who played hardball with him? If they could have had a slew of New York’s picks, with similar protections and swaps, plus some of the Knicks’ young talent, I would’ve probably preferred that.
Nadkarni: Good deal, I guess. This is what it’s all about now. You’re either trying to win or you’re trying to amass as many draft picks as possible. If Utah can tank its way into Victor Wembanyama or some other blue-chip prospect over the next couple seasons, this move will have been worth it. If the Jazz can’t get a top lottery talent, I’m not fully confident those extra Cavs and Wolves picks will move the needle.
Mannix: Really good deal. Danny Ainge got what he wanted, a cache of draft picks to add to the other cache of draft picks Utah got for Rudy Gobert. They are in position to bottom out—say goodbye to Mike Conley and Bogdan Bogdanovic in the near future—which will put them in the mix for Victor Wembanyama, the prize of the 2023 draft and the kind of player the Jazz could never attract otherwise. It will get ugly next season, but that’s really Utah’s only way back to contention.
Beck: Decent deal. Collin Sexton is a proven scorer and shot creator. Ochai Agbaji is a solid scorer and defender who just went 14th in the draft. The picks are likely to be in the 20s. You rarely get full value when trading All-Stars in this league. (The Rudy Gobert haul was both a rarity and an unreasonable standard, as the Mitchell trade underscores.) But the Jazz got what they needed: lots of draft capital, good young players they can either grow with or trade and a guarantee of being bad enough to get a high pick next June.
Lundberg: Good deal. The Jazz probably did about as well as they were going to in selling off both Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. I don’t see a headline acquisition here so ultimately Utah’s end of the deal will be judged by how it uses the treasure trove of picks it acquired. That isn’t a haul that can be judged now, but moving on from a core that had reached its ceiling and stocking up for a rebuild was reasonable.
Good deal or bad deal for the Knicks?
Nadkarni: Bad deal. It’s not quite that simple, but if this was the price for Mitchell, I think the Knicks should’ve never signed Jalen Brunson and made this move instead. Or they should’ve swung the deal for three firsts anyway with the extra draft capital they amassed this summer. I’m not ready to bury Mitchell after his playoff struggles this year. And talents like him, at his age, aren’t available often. I think the Knicks should have done it.
Lundberg: Bad deal from this perspective: It at least appeared they had a star they could land who wasn’t against being there. So while I don’t think Mitchell was going to make them contenders, it is a tough sell to pass on the scenario just described given the recent history of the Knicks franchise. When will they have a chance to land a guy like that again?
Mannix: Good deal. The proposed Mitchell trade was the kind of deal previous Knicks administrations would have tripped over to make. That this one didn’t is a good thing. I have more thoughts on New York’s prudence here.
Herring: It’s hard to say good or bad without knowing precisely what was on the table. Mitchell was worth a haul of picks—and maybe even a couple unprotected ones—plus some of New York’s best young talent. It’s a bit stunning that the Knicks went this far down the road without getting a deal done, but if they can land a more balanced star than Mitchell with those picks in the future, this won’t be seen as a failure.
Beck: Well, sorta both. Let’s start with the bad: The Knicks had the chance to get an All-Star, a flashy, franchise-defining player with New York roots who wanted to play there, and … they whiffed. As constructed, they’re still a lottery team, and not particularly interesting. But here’s the thing: For all his talent, Mitchell isn’t good enough to make the Knicks a consistent winner. Even with him, they might not have made the playoffs this season. The East is that good! And the Knicks just don’t have enough talent. Is it worth mortgaging all those picks and players for an All-Star who only gets you to seventh place? Probably not.
Where do you rank the Cavs in the East now?
Mannix: I can see the Cavs anywhere from 4-6 next season. Remember: Cleveland was in the mix for a top-three seed before injuries derailed the second half of the season. Mitchell plus the organic growth from the rest of the roster should put the Cavs right back in that neighborhood. The Eastern Conference is tough — Boston, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Brooklyn and Miami will be difficult to knock out of the top-five — but Cleveland has the talent now to at least compete with any of them.
Beck: They’re not as dominant as the Celtics or Bucks (the last two Eastern Conference champs), nor as talented as the Nets (yes, many caveats here), nor as proven as the Sixers. That leaves the Cavs battling with the Heat (most wins in the East last season) and the rising Raptors in that fifth through seventh tier. And I haven’t even mentioned the improved Hawks. (See what I mean? The East is tough!)
Nadkarni: At their absolute peak, the Cavs could be the third-best team in the East if things go sideways in Philly and Brooklyn. For now, I’ll say they have the fifth-best chance to represent the conference in the Finals.
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Herring: I think it’s feasible the Cavs finish in the top five or six, behind Milwaukee, Boston and Philly, if they’re healthy. As we saw at the end of last year, having both Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley healthy will be key, given how small the Cavs are on perimeter. But this trade isn’t necessarily just about this year. Cleveland’s core is young, and, if it jells, could be a force at some point.
Lundberg: I’d put the Cavaliers sixth but in the top tier with the Celtics, Bucks, Nets, Heat and Sixers. I’m not saying they couldn’t leapfrog one of those teams but the East is now very good and very deep. However, Cleveland is set up for some sustained success beyond what next season alone looks like.