Mitchell has 3 more years left on his contract and now joins up with Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen and Kevin Love.
My initial reaction is that this is a great move for Cleveland. This turns them into contenders in the East.
But it all depends on Evan Mobley. Because I’ve never considered Donovan Mitchell to be a true, elite-level superstar–I think in order for the Cavs to be true Championship contenders, they need Mobley to turn into an elite-level player. They need him to live up to that “Next Kevin Garnett” label that so many people have placed on him.
The issue is that it might take a few years for that to happen. Don’t get me wrong, Mobley was awesome as a rookie, will be even better next season, and will continue improving for years to come. And who knows–he may take such a leap next year that he becomes a superstar level player already.
But I just think that until he does, the Cavs are not quite Championship contenders.
They are going to be incredibly talented, though. That’s for sure. They are now one of two teams in the NBA with three players who made the All Star team last year–Garland, Mitchell and Jarrett Allen all did. The other team is the Warriors. So yeah, the Cavs are in good company here.
He’s referring to Evan Mobley here. Yes, I agree with him: Mobley has the highest ceiling of all the players on the Cavs. Higher than Mitchell, higher than Garland. He’s a truly special talent.
So I think it will all hinge on his development: will he live up to his potential in time for the Cavs to maximize their window here? The Cavs’ front office seems to believe he can.
Wonder if LeBron regrets signing that extension with the Lakers, huh?
Personally, I think LeBron is settled in LA for good–at least until Bronny has a chance to make it to the NBA. I don’t think LeBron wants to be seen as that guy that hops from team to team based on how good the roster is. It’s just a bad look.
However, it is fair to say that the Cavs look a lot more promising than the Lakers right now.
But that’s beside the point here. The Cavs are trying to build a future for themselves post-LeBron, and every move they make should not be viewed through the LeBron lens. The Cavs have been defined by LeBron for 20 years now, and now they are finally, for the first time since about 1998, a good team without LeBron James.
Hats off to Koby Altman and the Cavs for nailing this rebuild. Since LeBron left in the summer of 2018, the Cavs have been on a rebuild. They made the play-in this past season but failed to get in to the playoffs, but now they seem like a lock for the playoffs.
They have, since the summer of 2018, drafted Collin Sexton, who was integral in this trade with Utah for Mitchell; they then drafted Darius Garland 5th overall in 2019; and they took Evan Mobley 3rd overall in 2021. In 2020, they drafted Isaac Okoro with the 5th pick. While Okoro hasn’t really lived up to his high draft position, he’s only going into year 3 in the league and he’s not bad at all by any stretch.
The Cavs have absolutely nailed this rebuild. People wondered why they were taking so long to re-sign Collin Sexton, and thought they were botching the whole process, but it turned out they had a plan, and this was it.
The Cavs are going to be good. This rebuild is going far better than anyone outside of that front office could’ve ever imagined. Most of us thought they’d just bank on Mobley turning into a superstar, Garland continuing to ball out, and then probably just bringing back Collin Sexton as another guy who can get his own shot and put the ball in the hoop.
Nah. The Cavs are swinging for the fences. They wanted a player who would give them a legitimate chance at winning an NBA Championship. Now they’ve got arguably the best young core in the league: Mitchell, Garland, Mobley and Allen are all 25 and younger. If the Cavs can keep this team together, they are going places for sure. This rebuild of theirs has surpassed anything anyone could’ve imagined, and I couldn’t be more impressed with what they’ve pulled off here.
Could you imagine if they win an NBA Championship without LeBron? That would be so cool.
Wait–what if they get to the Finals at some point in the next few years and they play LeBron’s Lakers?
Obviously it seems like a long shot because the Lakers still have Westbrook (more on this soon), but now at this point it isn’t unthinkable–it’s conceivable that this could happen. That’s nuts.
Now for the Knicks angle of this, because all throughout the offseason, the Knicks were seen as the team that was most likely to wind up with Donovan Mitchell, even after they re-signed RJ Barrett.
I hate that I have to link to Woj but he’s the one who had the story–apparently the Knicks back in July offered Utah Barrett, Obi Toppin, Mitchell Robinson and three unprotected FRPs but Utah said no.
People are saying the Jazz are crazy for accepting the Cavs’ offer but not the Knicks, but I don’t know. I think the Cavs’ offer was better because I think Collin Sexton is better than RJ Barrett, I think I’d much rather have Agbagi than Obi Toppin, and I’d rather have Markkanen than Mitchell Robinson. I don’t know why people are saying the Knicks had a better offer.
But let’s just say for a second that the Knicks did have the better offer, why wouldn’t Utah take it? Maybe because it was back in July and they thought they could get something better by holding out, but then the Knicks’ self-imposed deadline hit, at which point they signed Barrett to a long-term extension and thus took him out of trade talks. The Jazz would then have been SOL, until the Cavs swooped in.
The main thing here is that, as far as I can tell, the Jazz were not choosing between the Cleveland offer and the New York offer. They had the New York offer back in July, then they lost it, and then the Cavs swooped in in the past few days and got the deal done once the Knicks were out of the running. That’s the way I see it.
Overall, though, awesome move by the Cavs. Love this for them. They’re going for it.
This had me laughing.
Header image photo credit: ClutchPoints