Donovan Mitchell reportedly wanted to go to New York or Miami.
Instead, he is headed to Cleveland to join one of the best young cores in the game and suddenly a rising threat in the East.
The Jazz will trade three-time All-Star Mitchell to the Cavaliers for three unprotected first-round picks, two pick swaps, Lauri Markkanen, Colin Sexton and Ochai Agbaji, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.
Cleveland will send three unprotected first round picks and two pick swaps as part of the deal to Utah for Mitchell, sources tell ESPN. https://t.co/vfphmFMIAf
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 1, 2022
Cleveland will send Lauri Markkanen, Colin Sexton and Ochai Agbaji to Utah in the package for Donovan Mitchell, league sources tell @YahooSports.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) September 1, 2022
Cavaliers star guard Darius Garland and Mitchell seem pumped about the deal.
10 and 🕷
— Darius Garland (@dariusgarland22) September 1, 2022
— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) September 1, 2022
For the Jazz, this was always about the most unprotected draft picks they could get, and the Cavaliers offered the most. While one could argue that two Knicks picks might ultimately be of higher value (they are a franchise with a history of off years), team president Danny Ainge and the Jazz went with the Cavaliers trio of unprotected picks.
League sources had long considered the Knicks a strong frontrunner to land Mitchell because they could offer the most picks, plus they had some intriguing young players. However, New York would only offer two unprotected first-round picks (plus three protected ones) and they took RJ Barrett out of the mix when they signed him to a four-year, up to $120 million extension. There had been talk of the Lakers coming in as the third team in a Mitchell trade because of their available picks, but L.A. GM Rob Pelinka has been hesitant to put both picks he can trade (2027 and 2029) into a trade that doesn’t make his team a contender. These deals would not.
Mitchell may not want to be in Cleveland, but he has three fully-guaranteed seasons left on his contract (totaling just under $100 million) plus a player-option year after that ($37.9 million). The Cavaliers have time to win him over.
Cleveland now has one of the more interesting backcourts in the NBA with just-extended Darius Garland and Mitchell, along with rising star Evan Mobley and All-Star center Jarrett Allen up front. The Cavaliers may need that impressive front line on defense, with both Garland and Mitchell being 6’1″ and forming an undersized backcourt.
Markkanen had never really fit in with the Cavaliers as a three, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see Danny Ainge and the Jazz consider flipping the Finnish star for more picks before the trade deadline. Sexton is in a contract year and will get a chance to prove himself in Utah, who likely will trade veteran point guard Mike Conley at some point and give Sexton the rock.