Grade the Trade: Cavs swap Mitchell for rival’s worst contract in B/R pitch

Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images
Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images /
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Cleveland Cavaliers
Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images /

Laying out a Cavaliers trade with Boston

There are a couple of different players on the Boston Celtics roster who would be candidates for its “worst contract” so that question has to be answered first. There is no trade package they are building around Malcolm Brogdon that is going to entice the Cavaliers to pull the trigger.

Bleacher Report instead pointed to Jaylen Brown, who just inked his name to a five-year supermax extension after making an All-NBA team this past season. Adding in this upcoming season, Brown is now under contract for six years and over $300 million; the final amount will be determined next season depending on how much the cap goes up.

Who is the more valuable player between Jaylen Brown and Donovan Mitchell? Thankfully, B/R recognized that it would be Mitchell, both in a vacuum and given Brown’s outsized contract. That led to a trade sending assets back to the Cavaliers alongside Jaylen Brown:

Right off the bat, we need to highlight the massive problem with this trade: it’s not legal. Bleacher Report stated that Brown could not be traded until late January, which would be six months after he agreed to the extension. That is not correct; because he signed a supermax extension (technically called a “designated veteran extension”), Brown is not eligible to be traded for a full calendar year. If we fast forward to late July of 2024, Brown’s salary would be higher than Mitchell’s, Payton Pritchard would be a free agent and that 2024 first-round pick would already have been made. Whoops.

With that being said, it’s still a helpful exercise to think through, both because these two teams may be interested in building out a trade like this next summer, and to peer closer at what both teams would need in a deal for their stars. Let’s take a look at why the Celtics might make this trade, were it to be possible.