Week after week of speculation surrounding a potential move away from Utah Jazz by three-time All-Star, Donovan Mitchell came to an end last Thursday as the Cleveland Cavaliers agreed to a massive trade that sends the Spida to the Eastern Conference.
Through all of the hearsays about the New York Knicks’ involvement and exorbitant price tags from the Jazz brass, Utah finally went for broke on a deal that effectively ends the organization’s most recent era.
The team from the State of Ohio are sending Lauri Markkanen, Ochai Agbaji, three unprotected first-round picks and two pick-swaps (2025, 2027 and 2029 with swaps in 2026 and 2028) to the Jazz in exchange for Mitchell.
Cleveland and restricted free agent Colin Sexton have also agreed to a sign-and-trade deal that will send the former lottery pick to Utah on a four-year deal worth $72 million in fully-guaranteed money.
The Jazz Angle
The deal is not super awesome for the Jazz. They give up a potential long-term guard they drafted to officially move a into a rebuild phase, with 3 new first-round picks to help them do it to add to their stockpile.
Picks are everything for rebuilding teams, especially those in smaller markets.
Having turned down Obi Toppin, Evan Fournier, and picks from the New York Knicks, Jazz get two former All-Rookies who have yet to hit the heights in Markkanen and Sexton. Both have shown great scoring ability and will benefit from the low-pressure environment where Utah can focus on their development.
Utah now has 13 first-round picks in the next 7 drafts, including 6 of their own, 4 from the Timberwolves, and 3 from the Cavaliers. They will bottom out for the foreseeable future with a focus on drafting and acquiring young players they could develop for the next great Jazz team.
So let me get this straight… the Jazz turned Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell into:— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) September 1, 2022
Ochai Agbaji (14th pick
Walker Kessler (22nd pick)
7 1st-round picks
3 1st-round swaps
The Cavaliers Angle
The 2016 NBA Champions may not be the No. 1 favorite in the Eastern Conference to reach the Finals, but they are a sure going to be competitive now, and they can continue to make moves should they wish to continue to do so.
Keep in mind, Kevin Love could finally be traded this year.
The Cavs making a move without having to get rid of either of Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, or Jarett Allen is a plus, especially considering the fact that it sounded like the Jazz were ready to move into the season with Mitchell on account of a very high expectation for return.
Though the team loses some flexibility moving forward, but as a small-market team it was something that they had to do if they wanted to open a window to seriously compete.
Cleveland is suddenly a major force in the East, adding three-time All-Star Donovan Mitchell — with three years left on his contract — to a lineup that includes two All-Stars — Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen — and a future All-Star with Evan Mobley.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 1, 2022
As far as fit, ball handling duties are the first question Cavs fans should have, but Garland, Mitchell, and LeVert are all capable in the backcourt. Immediately, it feels like Garland will work best at the point with Mitchell starting as a Shooting Guard.
How Things Pan Out, Going Forward
Without mincing words, one team leaves no one in doubt with their ambition for the future, whilst the other aims to lay the foundation for exploits in the coming years. Either ways, both mean well for their teams and can now focus on figuring out ways to best integrate their new additions to their cores.
Utah is starting over with a new coach and at least 13 first-round picks over the next seven years. This is after the franchise dealt its other star, Rudy Gobert, to the Minnesota Timberwolves for a haul that included a variety of players and a treasure trove of draft assets.
Donovan Mitchell bids farewell to the the Utah Jazz on IG 👋🏽😢 pic.twitter.com/rtyi6xfDsu— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) September 2, 2022
For Cleveland, they have yet to make the playoffs since LeBron James left for a second time in 2018, ending their four-year run to the Finals. They have been patient in putting things in place to take another shot at a title, and Mitchell gives them a fighting chance and star-power.