Donovan Mitchell’s Trade Degrees: Download Cavs for Present and Future; Jazz adds to the huge amount of future assets

Kevin Durant canceled his trade order. LeBron James signed a contract extension with the Lakers. Looks like Keri Irving resides in Brooklyn. The NBA offseason has been in a state of anti-climate lull for the past two weeks, but we know better than to think that it will.

Sure enough, the Cleveland Cavaliers came with elbow macho Randy Savage off the top rope on Thursday, Get Donovan Mitchell from the Utah Jazz In exchange for young players and selections. Mitchell was expected to be traded, but most reports indicated that the New York Knicks had the inside track to land the 25-year-old All-Star three times. When talks between New York and Utah reached an impasse (the Knicks reportedly refused to include Quentin Grimes in the deal), the Caves seized the opportunity and established themselves as one of the most promising young teams in the NBA.

Below is a summary of the reported trade, followed by the scores for each team.

Cavaliers receive:

Jazz receives:

Business Class Cavaliers: A +

Let’s start with what the Cavaliers earned: an all-time star who put 26 points per game over the past two seasons in 44/37/85 shooting, averaging 28 points in 39 playoffs, including multiple Postseason games over 50 points. Mitchell was better than 80 percent on both pick-and-roll and isolation records last season, according to Synergy Sports. In short – a dude is a walking bucket that can score from all three levels.

Darius Garland desperately needed help as the team’s only reliable starter, as evidenced by the 20th seed Cavs’ attack last season, and Mitchell will fill that gap right away. Mitchell isn’t the most natural facilitator and passer, so he would ideally complement Garland, who finished sixth in the league with 8.6 assists per game last season and was 82 percent in possessions plus assists, according to Synergy.

Standing at 6-foot-1, Garland and Mitchell make up one of the smallest backyards in the NBA, which is likely to create some problems for the Cavs defense that finished fifth in the league last season. However, they are backed by two of the best defensive players in the NBA in a match between Garrett Allen and Evan Mobley. Combined with the two 7-foot-talls to block three shots per game, Mobley could eventually develop into an enduring, superior and transformable defensive player.

Basically, Mitchell’s two biggest weaknesses – passing and defending – are covered on paper at least by his new teammates.

Now, to what the Cavs have given up. There is no sugar coating on it, that’s a lot. Abandoning three unprotected initial attempts essentially takes an atomic bomb to their capital project and requires counting on the new four core, for better or worse. Sexton averaged over 24 points in his last healthy season, Markkanen was a rare, mobile 7-footer who could stretch into the 3-point range, and Agbaji was the 14th pick in the June draft.

But from the Cavs’ perspective, you can see why these assets might not be as valuable as they are to jazz. Assuming the health and growth of Cleveland’s young stars, unprotected first-round picks will likely be in your late teens or twenties — not exactly the range in which you’ll find an influential player for a team with deep aspirations in the playoff. Barring unexpected disasters, the trade-offs in 2026 and 2028 won’t take effect because their choices must be worse than jazz rebuilding.

Sexton apparently had trouble getting along with Garland in the 11 games he played last season and the Cavs had no interest in awarding him the contract that Utah had, so he was essentially left out of the franchise’s future plans. The experience of playing Markkanen alongside Allen and Mobley was interesting (plus a net rating of 7.9 at 621 minutes), but perhaps not so sustainable, making Markkanen consumable. And while Agbaji is a promising prospect, he’s an older starter at 22 and hasn’t been fully established at the NBA level.

So the Cavs have given up a lot, but it’s easy to look at it from their point of view and see why the charge is totally worth the time for them to add Mitchell to the core of Garland, Mobley and Allen. In one fell swoop, the Cavs poised for current and future success with three All-Stars (and one future All-Star) under the age of 26.

Jazz Business Degree: B+

As Jazz CEO Danny Aing made clear in the Rudi Gobert deal, Utah wants all the options. If that’s the goal, the Mitchell deal makes perfect sense. Even assuming the swaps don’t happen, it appears that three unprotected first-round picks (and a sweepstakes pick in Agbagi) have to do with the market value of a Mitchell-caliber star — especially when everyone knows he’s going to be trading. On top of that, Utah has added strong young players with friendly contracts in Sexton and Markkanen, who could either become part of the franchise’s future or eventually flip – as I expected – for more selections.

So when we evaluate this jazz trade, the question is what other options are on the table. We’re not entirely sure of the offers made to the other teams, but there have been fruitful reports about what the Knicks were willing to give up. Their most recent bid was RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, two unprotected first-round picks and another first-round protected pick of the five. The Jazz reportedly wanted New York to trade Grimes for Quickley and/or remove protection in the third future pick, so the deal fell apart and they moved to Cleveland.

Another report from ESPN stated that in early July, the Knicks offered Barrett, Obi Tobin, Mitchell Robinson and three unprotected first-round picks, which the Jazz rejected.

Looking at the Cavs’ roster after the deal, it’s hard to imagine these picks would be anywhere near the top ten, even in 2029. Would you rather get Barrett, a 22-year-old All-Star player who averaged 20 points Per game last season as well as future Knicks picks instead of Cleveland? Perhaps, but only time will prove it.

What we do know is that first-round holders are the go-tos in the NBA. They can be bottled for stars, used as sweeteners in trade, or combined to rise up in the draft for the possibility you crave. In the end, even if Cleveland’s picks aren’t the perfect crop solution, they’re still top notch that can be used in any number of ways.

Combined with Gobert and Royce O’Neale’s deals, Mitchell’s run means that in this summer alone, Utah has now had seven unprotected first-round picks, one of the top five protected first class players and two swaps. Not to mention they have several players on the current roster like Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic and Jordan Clarkson, who can achieve first-round goals themselves.

Not a bad start to rebuilding in Utah, and recycling and handling isn’t over.

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