Grade the Trade: Cavaliers deal Mitchell for rising star in new pitch

Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports)
Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Cleveland Cavaliers
Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /

Would the Cavaliers accept this trade?

Assuming for the moment that the Pistons would be willing to hit the gas on this deal, should the Cavaliers join in? Moving Mitchell is certainly a huge move, a reversal of their deal last summer and an acknowledgment that they aren’t confident he will re-sign.

Would this deal provide the right return to make the front office confident they’re on the right side of the trade? Cade Cunningham looks like a future All-Star as a ball-handling wing, with a good jumpshot that is better than his percentages have shown (84.4 percent from the line) and real defensive chops and effort.

At 6’6″ he also makes for a very different backcourt partner for Darius Garland. Instead of dealing with two small guards that make cross-matching nearly impossible, the size of Cunningham allows the Cavs more options when setting its defense and allows for different configurations of forwards as well.

On the other hand, however, Cunningham’s shot hasn’t gone in yet; he is 30.9 percent for his career from long-range, and he hasn’t been an elite finisher from 2-point range either (47.1 percent). If he can’t shoot reliably, pairing him with Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen essentially neuters the Cavs’ offense no matter how good of a passer he is.

It’s a bold swing, and if the shot comes around this could be the kind of swing that establishes a championship-winning core. The two-way combination of Cade, Garland and Mobley could be that good. It could also lower their ceiling for next season while taking a swing on a player who hasn’t yet put it together in the league.

If the Cavs could get a little more juice from this deal, or if they thought Mobley was ready to take a major step forward, this would be an easy one to accept. As it is there are a lot of things to like, and some very real downsides, making it a fascinating trade to consider.

Next. 7 Former All-Stars the Cavaliers signed past their prime. dark

Grade: B+