After weeks of speculation and rumors, Utah Jazz star Shooting Guard Donovan Mitchell has been traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Lauri Markkanen, Ochai Agbaji, Colin Sexton, three unprotected first round picks, and two pick swaps. While Mitchell being traded is not a surprise by itself, the guard being traded to the Cavaliers is most definitely a shock, considering it seemed like the Knicks and the Heat were the front runners for him. So, what does this trade mean for both sides? Let’s take a look.
Let’s start with the Jazz. This trade signals the start of the complete rebuilt. Both of their all stars Rudy Gobert and Mitchell are gone and it is time to turn to the young guys. Leading that group of young guys is one of the players traded for Mitchell, Colin Sexton. Sexton showed promise in Cleveland before being injured and missing all of last season. He is a guy that hustles for every loose ball while also giving you 18+ points per game. He could become a cornerstone of the franchise. In addition to Sexton, the Jazz have Talen Horton-Tucker, a versatile wing who has shown flashes of greatness. Don’t expect this Mitchell deal to be the last one the Jazz make, however, because veterans Mike Conley, Jordan Clarkson, and Bojan Bogdanovich are all expected to be traded to contenders in exchange for picks and more young pieces very soon, so stay tuned for those moves.
As for the Cavaliers, they nailed this trade. They managed to get Mitchell without giving up any of their core three of Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, and Jarrett Allen. The Cavs now have all star caliber players throughout the entire starting lineup outside of the SF spot. Now, I’m not here to speculate, but there’s a certain superstar SF with Cleveland ties named LeBron James who becomes available in 2024, which lines up with the current players contracts, but that’s another conversation for another day. As for right now, the Cavaliers looked poised to begin fully committing to winning. The Eastern Conference is stacked, but they look like they could contend at least a bit with teams like the Bucks, Celtics, 76ers, and Heat. I expect them to earn a 5-6 seed and possibly even win a playoff series or two. However, 3-5 years down the road, expect this team to consistently be in the conference finals or even the NBA Finals, pending major injuries. The Cavs are ready to prove they can win without LeBron, and it’ll be interesting to see how far they go.
The Donovan Mitchell trade saga is over. The Jazz are ready to tank, and the Cavs are ready to become a dark horse contender. The NBA world will continue to observe both teams to see if they have even more trades up their sleeves to get to where they want to be.