Except for news that Kevin Durant and the Nets are going to continue their partnership (at least for now), the NBA world has generally been quiet in recent weeks. But now the Cleveland Cavaliers have swept in to completely shake things up with a massive move.
As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported first, the Cavs are trading for Donovan Mitchell. They’re sending Lauri Markkanen, Ochair Agbaji, Collin Sexton, three unprotected first-round picks and two pick swaps to the Jazz in exchange for their new star guard.
Full trade: Utah is trading Donovan Mitchell to Cleveland for Lauri Markkanen, Ochair Agbaji, Collin Sexton, three unprotected first-round picks and two pick swaps, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 1, 2022
This move is a shock to say the least. Until now, all reporting has indicated that the Knicks were the favorite to land Mitchell and they were the most motivated team to make a deal. Instead, New York is left as is, firmly down the pecking order in the Eastern Conference with no new star.
The Knicks weren’t ready to make a trade earlier in the week, and the Cavs leapt in to make it happen.
Cleveland GM Koby Altman circled back to Utah GM Justin Zanik on Tuesday and the two teams re-assembled a deal they had been discussing in previous weeks, sources tell ESPN. New York declined to do a trade a deal on Monday night, opening the door for Cleveland to secure a deal.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 1, 2022
It’s quite the rough end to New York’s offseason.
Meanwhile, the Jazz get to continue their offseason rebuild by accumulating another bunch of assets. They’ve racked up a host of first-rounders from trading Rudy Gobert and now Mitchell, and have a highly productive (and often underrated) new guard in Sexton as well. He may have missed most of last season with injury, but Sexton has improved throughout his career and averaged 24.3 points and 4.4 assists with a 57.3 true shooting percentage in his last full year in 2020-21. He should be in store for a strong bounce-back campaign in Utah.
Sexton agreed to a sign-and-trade to help the deal take place, and Shams Charania confirmed that Sexton is signing a very reasonable four-year, $72 million deal with his new team.
Sources: Collin Sexton is signing a four-year, $72 million contract via sign-and-trade to the Utah Jazz.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 1, 2022
The Cavs already had a terrific, fast-improving young core in place, and now they’re ready to make another jump up the East next season. They paid a lot for Mitchell when you consider the amount of draft capital, but it’s clearly a worthwhile move as they keep their top talent in place and acquire a near All-NBA level guard to help elevate their offense.
With Mitchell and Darius Garland, the Cavs have an elite mix of shot creation, shooting, and playmaking in their backcourt. Combined with Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen to dominate defensively, smother the glass, and thrive as roll men and finishers alongside their star guards (and do far more offensively in the case of the extremely versatile Mobley), the Cavs have a dangerous group in place.
The Cavs, armed with one of the best quartets in the NBA, now have multiple stars to excel at both ends of the floor. It’s going to be awfully interesting watching this team climb up the East.
You can listen to our instant reaction podcast to the trade below: