The Utah Jazz sound like a mess right now after the Donovan Mitchell trade to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Cleveland Cavaliers got themselves into a great place with the trade for Donovan Mitchell. The young shooting guard comes in not only as an improvement over Collin Sexton but as someone who is equally in line with the rest of the Cavs with regard to age. This is a young squad with huge expectations now that they landed such a major player to the team.
The Cavs came out of nowhere to land Mitchell, as they weren’t the team that was most likely to land him, that would have been the New York Knicks.
To say the Mitchell trade reminds me of the Jarrett Allen trade would be an understatement. Once again teams get next to nothing for something and the Cavs are far better for it.
The Knicks had an offer in place earlier this summer that, had the Jazz taken it, would’ve seen New York send R.J. Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, Obi Toppin, and three unprotected first-round picks going to Utah. The Cavs eventually sent Collin Sexton, Lauri Markkanen, and Ochai Agbaji, along with three unprotected first-round picks and two first-round pick swaps.
Talent for talent, I think the Cavs package is as good if not better, as I don’t think too highly about Barrett. Picks-wise, the Knicks are a dumpster fire and will likely still have high picks, or at least higher picks compared to the Cavs. The Cavs were likely to be drafting in the 20s going forward in the NBA Draft, while the Knicks would have been a far less complete team and likely drafting higher.
So personally, I don’t think you could go wrong with either package but I do think the Cavs’ offer had a lot more talent in it, while the Knicks offered a better draft package. Some agree with this, some don’t but what can’t be argued is that the Jazz did bungle this trade; because while both trade packages were fine, neither was truly great.
In fact, the Jazz made the moves they did in part due to spite.
The Cleveland Cavaliers got lucky the Utah Jazz were so desperate
I’m reminded so much of the Nets being desperate to acquire James Harden that they just gave away pieces to get him. One of those pieces was Allen. The Jazz by all accounts overplayed their hands in the summer, and when the Knicks was the only team in the race, the Jazz got desperate. Especially if the rumor the Knicks started offering less and less is at all true.
The Knicks allegedly reduced their package over the summer, taking out part after part of the original three-player, three-pick trade and offering other, less impressive assets. This, coupled with their dismay over Mitchell wanting a trade in the first place, seemed to be the catalyst of the Cavs getting their man for next to nothing.
Ric Bucher claimed that the Jazz favored the Cavs package in part due to wanting some form of payback for Mitchell wanting out of Utah. This may have backfired on them, however, because when Mitchell found out that he was going to Cleveland, he celebrated.
Then it was revealed that Jazz president Danny Ainge and Knicks president Leon Rose, never fielded calls with one another, instead letting those under them talk turkey. This clearly wasn’t the right call for the Knicks, as the Jazz never really considered them and it may have been due to the lackluster approach from Rose.
Despite Ainge staying out of the Knicks talks and Bucher’s take on the reasoning why the Cavs “won” the trade, the Jazz is putting it out there that they didn’t make the deal out of spite. Zach Lowe said on his podcast that he was told the Jazz made the best decision possible for the franchise.
Though he did say that “emotions can play into it”, so clearly the Bucher rumor isn’t without merit.
By all accounts, the Knicks screwed themselves out of a trade by playing chicken with the Jazz and the Jazz took a deal that quite honestly, isn’t that good from the Cavs. They’ll likely move Markkanen, and then hope they land a top draft pick in 2023 or 2024, otherwise, they’re really screwed.
Once again a team outplays themselves and the Cavs are rewarded for it.