Cleveland Cavaliers fans have every right to be disappointed by the start of the 2023-24 NBA season.
J.B. Bickerstaff's team is struggling to establish consistency, proven by a 9-8 record through 17 games — good for the Eastern Conference's No. 8 spot. It certainly doesn't help that the Cavaliers only have two multi-game winning streaks through the season's first quarter, making it tougher to establish their footing in the playoff race.
In other words, if the Cavaliers' situation doesn't improve, general manager Mike Gansey might turn to the trade market to shake the roster up. That means some familiar faces could be sent packing out of Cleveland — for better or worse, depending on the team's goals.
With that in mind, here are three Cavaliers who might not be in Cleveland once the 2023-24 season finishes.
1. Donovan Mitchell
Chances are that the majority of Cavaliers fans don't want to see Donovan Mitchell traded. The elite sharpshooter has been as advertised since joining the franchise last season, giving Cleveland the game-changing superstar it waited years to have.
Having said that, it's been well-documented that Mitchell is willing to wait before deciding to commit to the franchise on a long-term deal. The 27-year-old guard is still under contract until the end of the 2024-25 season with a $37 million player option for the following campaign.
While there's still time for both sides to work things out, teams might begin calling the Cavs if they don't turn their season around. HoopsHype's Michael Scotto reports that interested parties are "monitoring" Mitchell's happiness as the year goes on to see if a deal is possible.
Although Scotto says the Cavaliers might wait until next season to move Mitchell, a "Godfather" offer could force Cleveland's hand — especially with the value his bird rights bring. If the franchise's inconsistent play persists, it isn't unfathomable to imagine that the Cavs would want to load up on future assets after depleting their cupboards to land Mitchell in the first place.
Having averaged 28.2 points (on .479/.379/.874 splits), 4.5 rebounds, and 4.6 assists since arriving in Cleveland, it's easy to imagine just the sort of package the Cavaliers could receive in a blockbuster deal.
Again, a Mitchell trade is far from guaranteed, but it becomes more of a real possibility the longer the Cavaliers look mediocre.