Cavaliers acquire All-Star Donovan Mitchell


Courtesy of Alex Goodlett - Getty Images

Ball in hand, the Cavs’ newest addition, shooting guard Donovan Mitchell, on the court with his old team, the Utah Jazz.

Ishan Kulkarni, Staff Reporter

In a surprise move, the Cleveland Cavaliers acquired All-Star shooting guard Donovan Mitchell from the Utah Jazz in a massive trade package that consisted of players and future picks. 

The Cavs traded away Lauri Markkanen, Collin Sexton and Ochai Agbaji, three unprotected first round picks (2025, 2027, 2029) and two pick swaps (2026 and 2028) all in exchange for Donovan Mitchell. The Jazz were looking to trade Mitchell for the last couple months to focus on a rebuild following the massive haul of picks and young players they received in exchange for Rudy Gobert, their defensive anchor and superstar. 

Since the Gobert trade, the offseason market had come to a standstill as teams began demanding higher returns for their superstars. Many believed Mitchell would go to the New York Knicks or the Miami Heat—these teams had the assets the Jazz sought. Nothing emerged from these talks, as the Heat were hesitant and the Knicks instead extended forward RJ Barrett, one of their young stars—the Jazz likely would have wanted Barrett in any potential trade. 

Cleveland was never in the rumor mill for Mitchell, but this trade puts the team in a very interesting position for this upcoming season. Though losing in the Play-In Tournament last season, the Cavs have immensely improved since Lebron James’ departure in 2018. With the Mitchell trade, it’s clear the front office believes now is the time to win. 

Of the players the team gave up, only Markkanen played a key role last season. Sexton, who was a rising star with high potential, was sidelined with injury. Agbaji was the Cavs first round draft pick in the 2022 NBA Draft and could have provided good minutes but is still inexperienced. Sexton was traded via sign-and-trade as he was a restricted free agent and did not seem to get any other offers as good as the one the Cavaliers (and Jazz) agreed to.

 This team looks like a strong playoff team if the season works out in their favor. With a backcourt of Darius Garland and Mitchell along with a potential frontcourt of Caris LeVert, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen, the team has a good balance of defense and offense and as such might go far. 

The team should also be getting back Ricky Rubio, who was playing some of his best basketball before he tore his ACL in the beginning of last season. Rubio along with  Kevin Love, Cedi Osman, Isaac Okoro and Robin Lopez can provide depth during the regular season and some valuable relief minutes in a potential playoff run. 

With preseason basketball beginning in just a few weeks, the Cavs will be a team to watch out for in the Eastern Conference and should be even more fun to watch as the electric and athletic Mitchell fits in with the team’s current young core.