- Lucas Warren
Donovan Mitchell Traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers
After months of stipulations the trade has finally been made Donovan Mitchell is heading to Cleveland. In return Utah is receiving Lauri Markkanen, Collin Sexton, Ochai Agbaji, three unprotected first round picks, and two pick swaps. Sexton is also immediately signing a 4 year $72 million dollar contract that is fully guaranteed.
This news comes as a surprise as for months Mitchell has been heavily rumored to be heading to New York. Discussions between Utah and New York were heavily reported on and most believed the two teams would eventually make a deal. According to Shams Charania trade talks were being held up by the amount of draft compensation Utah would receive. It was reported that Utah Jazz President Danny Ainge wanted a historical package in return for the 25 year old all star.
Though the bar was set high it seems the Jazz settled for a fair package for Mitchell. Utah received one more unprotected pick and pick swap than what the San Antonio Spurs received in the Dejounte Murray trade. The Gobert trade shocked the NBA world with 4 unprotected picks, 1 pick swap, and 1st round pick Walker Kessler, but it seems this trade marks a return to normal draft compensation for star players.
What is interesting about this deal is not only Collin Sexton’s involvement, but the fully guaranteed four year deal he just signed. This is because reports said Utah wasn’t interested in a player like RJ Barrett because they would immediately have to sign him to a new expensive contract. Lauri Markkenan is also on his second contract and while it doesn’t go above 20 million annually the jury is still out on whether or not Markkanen is a winning player.
Looking at Cleveland's roster after this trade they can now put out a starting line up of Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell, Caris LeVert, Evan Mobley, and Jarrett Allen. This is an obvious talent boost to a team that was a top 4 seed in the East before injuries sent them down the standings. The problem is this team still has no wings. Isaac Okoro was their first pick a few years ago and led all rookies in minutes but has become unplayable because of his dismal 31.5% three point shooting on 2 to 3 wide open shots per game. Okoro is good defensively and hustles but is also slightly undersized to deal with bigger wings at just 6’5”. They have guys like Lamar Stevens and Cedi Osman off the bench, but they’re deeply flawed players who can only play 15 to 20 minutes a game. Caris LeVert will be taking on starting small forward duties and at 6’6” with good feet he’s not a bad option. He does tend to overplay defenders and lose his guy off the ball, but can square up and play good one on one defense. LeVert will also be okay to overplay defensively knowing he has both Mobley and Allen protecting the rim. Cleveland was a good defensive team last year but struggled to score the ball relying too heavily on third year guard and first time all star Darius Garland. The addition of Mitchell will clearly help the Cavaliers offensively with Mitchell likely assuming top scorer duties meaning Garland can slide into a more natural secondary scorer and facilitator role. It’ll be interesting to see if this team can solidify themselves in a loaded Eastern Conference. I love the talent their starting 5 brings but the lack of a true wing and an empty bench leaves me hesitant to declare the Cavaliers winners in this trade.