The Cleveland Cavaliers have acquired All-Star guard Donovan
Mitchell from the Utah Jazz for Collin Sexton, Lauri Markkanen and
Ochai Agbaji in a sign-and-trade, multiple sources confirmed to
Basketball News. Sexton and the Jazz agreed to terms on a
four-year, $72 million contract agreement, per Yahoo's Chris
The Cavs will also send three unprotected first-round picks
(2025, 2027, 2029) and two future pick swaps (2026, 2028) in the
deal. The news was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of
Sources told Basketball News that the deal "all came together in
the last 24 hours." This is a swing-for-the-fences type of move by
the Cavs, who clearly believe that they had to add another
superstar to complement their up-and-coming star in Darius Garland,
along with the team's promising two young bigs in Evan Mobley and
Jarrett Allen. With a majority of the Eastern Conference improving
with huge offseason moves — such as Dejounte Murray heading to the
Atlanta Hawks and Malcolm Brogdon going to the Boston Celtics —
Cleveland joined the party by bringing in a bona fide superstar in
Fit shouldn't be too much of an issue for "Spida," as he'll
slide into the 2-guard role that Sexton occupied for the last two
seasons (before getting hurt early last year). For a number of
months now, the Cavs have discussed taking some of the playmaking
burden off of Garland so he can get loose and work away from the
ball. Mitchell's ability to create for others has improved
year-by-year, and there's no worrying about him creating space to
get his own shot off. We definitely know how well Garland and his
new backcourt partner can score the ball, but watching them work in
sync could be poetry in motion. And while delegating between the
two might be shaky at first, once some cohesiveness is established,
it'll be on.
If you're into simple counting numbers, Mitchell adds about 26
points per game to this roster that was missing. (Sexton's absence
was very much felt last season.) Donovan's True Shooting percentage
was the highest of his career to boot (57.2%), and he also
contributed a career-high 27.7% assist rate.
Defensively, we know Mitchell had his flaws last season;
however, the personnel Cleveland has in place with Mobley and Allen
should take some of that pressure off of him. They are both
rim-protecting (and switching, in Evan's case) monsters in their
own unique way, which should cover for both smaller guards if they
get beat, as we've seen in the past.
It will be interesting to see what Cavs head coach J.B.
Bickerstaff does with his rotation, as Cleveland lost its starting
small forward in this deal as well. Will he elect to try Mobley at
the 3 and possibly go back to Kevin Love at the 4 to keep "big
ball" going? Will there be a three-guard lineup between Garland,
Mitchell and Caris LeVert? Does the team trust Isaac Okoro enough
offensively to give him his starting spot back?
Those are likely the most prominent questions on everybody's
minds with Cleveland.
As for the Jazz, they have slammed the reset button. It started
with the Rudy Gobert trade to Minnesota, and ended by sending
Mitchell packing to Cleveland. Now, they've got some intriguing
young pieces to work with.
Kudos to Utah general manager Justin Zanik and executive Danny
Ainge for bringing in two solid starters and a lottery-pick rookie
in this move. Sexton is a straight-up dog as a scorer, an intense
competitor and one of the best culture pieces the Jazz could bring
in. He's improved as a three-point shooter, has become a better
passer over the years and will never shy away from crunch time.
While he must improve defensively, the desire and ball pressure are
Markkanen is a stretch 4 who can spread the floor, attack off
the dribble in an unorthodox manner and is long enough to be
disruptive on defense. His biggest issue to overcome is his
inconsistency. Agbaji hasn't even stepped foot on the floor yet,
but at Summer League in Las Vegas, he had a pair of games where he
was lights out from distance and was well balanced with his
We'll see how the new-look Jazz operate under head coach Will
Hardy. Utah also recently brought in Talen Horton-Tucker and
Stanley Johnson, while also trading for Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik
Beasley. One thing is for sure, Zanik and Ainge retooled this
roster in a big way, and with all of those guards and veterans,
they're probably not done. It'll be intriguing to see how this team
comes together at the end.
Even with Cleveland growing organically, step-by-step, the team
obviously felt this was an opportunity it couldn't pass up. This
front office is quite meticulous when it comes to the importance of
chemistry and not messing with a good thing, and that showed last
season by how fun this locker room truly was.
Cavs president Koby Altman and general manager Mike Gansey have
shaken things up with a colossal blockbuster, and were successful
in keeping their core three pieces together. For that, they should
be commended. Mitchell and Sexton are similar in some aspects of
their game and their stature; with that said, the former is further
along into his career with plenty of memorable playoff moments and
experiences, as well as three All-Star appearances.
On paper, Cleveland is boasting a deep, talented roster with
some solid balance. Barring any health setbacks, the 26-year-old
Mitchell should fit like a glove offensively. Yes, Garland's usage
will take a bit of a hit; maybe that's a good thing. He was out of
gas when the Play-In Tournament came around. Honestly, the whole
But adding a talent like Mitchell to the fold means you can
trust two incredible ball-handlers and stagger them, if need be,
and let the chips fall where they may.
Mitchell is locked in for the next three years of his contract,
with a player option in 2025-26. Garland just inked a rookie max
extension. Allen is in it for the long haul. You'll have to imagine
Evan Mobley will be in line to sign the dotted line. The Cavs are
not messing around and have a loaded core going forward.
Maybe that'll finally quiet the LeBron James rumors, huh?