Instant reaction to Cavs trading for Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell

Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images
Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images /

August is the quietest month of the NBA calendar, with NBA stars and executives taking their vacations and transactions to a minimum. Perhaps that is why the Cleveland Cavaliers and Utah Jazz waited until September 1st to execute a blockbuster of a trade.

For months the NBA world has been expecting a trade for All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell. The Utah Jazz made the decision in early July to tear down their tired contender, trading Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves for a mammoth return. Yet the NBA world expected Mitchell would ultimately land in just one place: New York.

There were reasons a Mitchell trade between the Jazz and New York Knicks was hung up, and it got even more complicated when the Knicks and young wing RJ Barrett agreed to a rookie extension. That opened the door for another team to jump into the fray, and jump they did.

The Cleveland Cavaliers pulled off a blockbuster trade on Thursday. Instant reactions to Cavs trade with Utah Jazz for Donovan Mitchell

After a few whispers of interest, suddenly faint possibility became a jolting reality when ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski dropped his latest Woj Bomb: the Cavs were not only back into the Donovan Mitchell discussion, they were the resounding winners.

For a few moments, that was all that the world had, and Cavs fans waited with held breath for the rest of the trade information. Would Jarrett Allen be traded to Utah? How much draft capital did the Cavs spend? What would the team look like in just a few moments?

The rest trickled out from there. Woj was first with the draft pick details:

That made it clear Allen was staying in Cleveland; there was no way the Cavs would add all of that draft capital on top of an All-Star center. That made sense, as the Jazz were reportedly more interested in draft picks than young talent as they entered an all-out rebuild.

The players involved came next. Fingers crossed for Caris LeVert? Chris Haynes of Yahoo popped that bubble:

Woj came back to sum it all up:

Collin Sexton signed a four-year, $72 million deal with the Jazz as part of a sign-and-trade. The first-round picks going out are the Cavs’ picks in 2025, 2027 and 2029, with two swaps likely falling in 2026 and 2028.

The Jazz now have 13 premium first-round picks as well as a collection of veterans and young prospects to build with. They’ll likely continue to be active in moving those veterans for further draft capital, and are on watch to partner with the Los Angeles Lakers to take on Russell Westbrook’s contract.

The Cavs, on the other hand, have their eyes on the top of the conference. They don’t have the playoff experience and true MVP candidate that teams like the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks have, but they will push to be in the next group. A Memphis Grizzlies-like jump up the standings is not out of the question.

With Caris LeVert sticking around, he is the frontrunner to start at small forward. That will mean a lineup of Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell, LeVert, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen. Dean Wade is another candidate to get the start if the Cavs move LeVert into a Sixth Man role.

As the NBA world processes this deal, and the Knicks retreat into the corner to weep, one thing is clear: the Cleveland Cavaliers are no longer a lottery team. They are out to show they don’t need LeBron James to win. With four all-out stars all 25 years or younger, they have plenty of time to grow into something special.