3. Donovan Mitchell
It was just over a year ago that the Cavaliers acquired Donovan Mitchell from the Utah Jazz. After all, Cleveland needed a dynamic backcourt threat and few available options compared to the four-time NBA All-Star sharpshooter.
Mitchell came as advertised last season, averaging a career-high 28.3 PPG on .484/.386/.867 splits with 4.4 assists and 4.3 rebounds. His debut season was good enough to earn him All-NBA Second Team honors for the first time in his career.
So why would the 2023-24 season be his last in Cleveland?
Well, Mitchell hasn't exactly committed to staying in town for the long term. He's under contract for the next two seasons and has a $37 million player option for 2025-26, but he also recently told reporters that an extension isn't on his mind and he won't consider one until next summer at the earliest.
Assuming the situation doesn't change, the Cavs could be in a tough spot. The last thing they need is to enter the 2024-25 campaign with Mitchell still uncommitted to an extension or his player option. The Cavaliers gave up three players and a trio of picks (plus two swaps) to bring him in, so losing him for nothing would be soul-crushing.
That's why I fully expect the Cavaliers to at least explore trade options at the end of the season if Mitchell's mind is still up in the air. Even if Cleveland can't recoup equal value to what it gave up in the initial trade, getting any sort of return beats Mitchell walking for nothing.
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