Move No. 2: Offer Donovan Mitchell a max extension
There are a few different scenarios where a player becomes eligible for a veteran contract extension, and when the offseason officially begins Donovan Mitchell will enter one of them. If he were to decline his player option for 2025-26, Mitchell would have only two years remaining on his current deal and could sign an extension based on that.
On the surface, this might seem like a reasonable move for both sides. The Cavaliers can offer a maximum extension and Mitchell can lock in his money and commit to Cleveland long-term. There is a fairly big wrinkle, however, that makes a Mitchell extension incredibly unlikely.
Players with seven or eight years of experience in the league become eligible for a “designated veteran extension” which is commonly referred to as the “supermax” extension. Mitchell has only six years of experience, so he can’t sign that deal yet. If he makes an All-NBA team next season he would be able to sign up to 35 percent of the salary cap, significantly more than he can sign for now.
Even so, the Cavaliers should offer it. It communicates that they want him around long-term, and it starts a dialogue that can end in a new extension next summer that keeps the two parties together for a long time. The real inflection point will be next year; if Mitchell is eligible for the supermax and doesn’t sign it, the Cavs will have to ask some tough questions.