Grade the Trade: Cavaliers deal Donovan Mitchell in ESPN-approved pitch

Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports)
Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports) /
2 of 3
Cleveland Cavaliers
Brandon Ingram, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images /

Laying out a Donovan Mitchell trade

While there are a number of teams that could make an offer for Donovan Mitchell, the prime team is a low-end playoff team that needs a dynamic on-ball guard and can trade a win-now asset back to the Cavs in return. Cleveland made the swing last summer because they feel that their current core can win now; they aren’t going to simply move him for picks and reset the timeline entirely.

The New Orleans Pelicans emerge as a strong trade partner. They have four young forwards who would ideally all start, but someone from Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, Trey Murphy III and Herb Jones has to come off the bench when everyone’s healthy (obviously an important caveat with the Pels). That could motivate New Orleans to make a swing and swap a forward for a guard.

Here’s what a deal could look like:

The Pelicans now have Donovan Mitchell and CJ McCollum as a dynamic offensive starting backcourt, with McCollum able to transition into a super-sub role at some point as he ages. They love Dyson Daniels, but he is still raw on offense and they get back Isaac Okoro as a secondary defensive stopper to back up Herb Jones’ role on the team.

The offensive pairing of Mitchell and Zion is formidable, and this team has a good mixture of role players to put around them. If the Pelicans thought they had a chance to re-sign Mitchell, this deal makes sense.

Does it make sense for the Cavaliers?