It appears as though a Donovan Mitchell trade to the Cleveland Cavaliers may not be the most likely thing.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have called the Utah Jazz about what it would cost to land Donovan Mitchell in a trade. How serious the Cavs are about moving pieces for Mitchell is anyone’s guess. It’s smart to make the call, but they don’t have to do anything more than that.
I think Mitchell is an upgrade over guys like Collin Sexton and Caris LeVert, but I don’t think he’s worth the rumored five first-round draft picks that the team would need to give up to get him. I’ve written before how the Cavs could give up two picks, and do an additional two pick-swaps, but anything beyond that would make this deal too much for the Cavs to get in on.
A major hurdle to any trade for Mitchell is the future, but we’ve only been looking at it as a cost of assets, but there’s a bigger future hurdle to consider; Evan Mobley. As Evan Dammarell pointed out, the NBA has a rule where only two players on a team can be signed to rookie-max contracts, and the Cavs already gave one out to Darius Garland. Mitchell, likewise, is under that kind of deal.
That means the Cavs would need to either convince Evan Mobley to take less than the max or move either Garland or Mitchell in the next three seasons.
If the Cleveland Cavaliers want Donovan Mitchell, there are workarounds
While not paying Mobley a rookie super-max contract isn’t a move fans want to ponder, it’s a possibility. Sure, the Cavs would risk offending Mobley and he could leave in free agency, but there’s also every possibility that he wants to stay regardless. I’m not sure what the amount Mobley can make before it creeps into a super-max contract, but I’m sure it’s still a lot of money.
There’s also the possibility that the Cavs either move Garland if they land Mitchell, or that they view Mitchell as a short-term asset.
There’s also a possibility that they make the move now and worry about it later. Who knows, they may change that rule in a year or two, making it a moot opinion. Heck, they could even trade Mobley for Mitchell.
We have no idea who the higher-ups really view as untouchable.
Personally, if you can get Mitchell for two first, two pick swaps, LeVert and Sexton, I make the move and worry about how to re-sign Mobley later down the line. I mean, I can always trade Mitchell later if need be.