Cleveland Cavaliers acquire Donovan Mitchell from Utah Jazz
September 2, 2022
The Cleveland Cavaliers have officially acquired guard Donovan Mitchell from the Utah Jazz, as per report.
In exchange for Mitchell, the Cavaliers reportedly sent Lauri Markkanen, Ochai Agbaji and Collin Sexton. Cleveland also gave out three first-round picks for 2025, 2027 and 2029 as well as two pick swaps for 2026 and 2028 according to sources. Rich Paul, Sexton’s agent, confirmed that the player had agreed to a four-year sign-and-trade deal worth $72 million to move to Utah.
Mitchell’s name entered the trade market after Utah traded away Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves in July this year. Mitchell had been with the Jazz for five years, recording an average of 23.9 points and 4.5 assists per game. In the last three seasons, Mitchell also joined the All-Star games.
The guard signed a contract extension with Utah in the offseason of 2020. According to the contract’s term, he still had four years left when being traded to Cleveland, along with a $134.9 million pay. His final year in the contract is a player option worth $37.1 million.
ESPN said that Mitchell’s addition to the Cavaliers made them a strong contender in the Eastern Conference. The Cavaliers already have two All-Star players, Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen, and Evan Mobley who was No. 2 in the Rookie of the Year title last season.
In the 2021-22 season, the Cavaliers posted 44-38, finishing eighth in the Eastern Conference. They have gone to the playoffs 22 times, the last time was in 2018 when they were defeated in the Finals by the Golden State Warriors.
Discussions to acquire Mitchell
Cleveland was not the only team approaching Utah for Mitchell, as reportedly the New York Knicks also pursued the guard. Internal sources said that New York had assets that the Jazz were more interested in.
According to these sources, New York and Utah had discussed several different plans for the trade but could not agree on one. The Knicks then backed down from the talk on Monday. They reportedly still wanted to pursue Mitchell but Utah was almost closing the deal with the Cavaliers.
Meanwhile, Koby Altman, the chairman of basketball operations for Cleveland, had discussed Mitchell’s acquisition with Utah but pulled out on Friday when both teams could not come to terms. However, Altman reportedly reached out again to Utah on Tuesday morning. Within two days, the Cavaliers had secured Mitchell.
Utah reshapes roster
Analysts said that Utah has a plan to reshape its roster. By trading away Gobert and Mitchell, the team has 13 first-round picks that will last them through 2029. In addition to Agbaji, the Jazz also got Walker Kessler from Minnesota–both players were first-round picks in 2022.
There were reports of the Jazz’s plan to release their other veterans–Jordan Clarkson, Bojan Bogdanovic and Mike Conley mentioned in the plan. Sources said that Jazz might exchange these players for plenty draft assets.
In the last six seasons, Utah went to the playoffs. They hold the longest playoff streak in the Western Conference but never made it past the second round in the event. The franchise underwent a major change, such as by having coach Will Hardy replacing Quin Snyder.