Grade the Trade: Cavaliers deal Mitchell for royalty in new idea

Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images /
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The Cleveland Cavaliers don’t want to trade Donovan Mitchell. This same front office made the big swing to acquire him, and the result was the best season of his career and the best non-LeBron Cavaliers season in at least 25 years. Thus far the trade has been a success.

There are certainly concerns moving forward, about whether Donovan Mitchell plans to extend his contract to stay in Cleveland, about whether a small backcourt with Mitchell and Darius Garland can win a championship. Those concerns aren’t big enough to force the Cavaliers’ hand on a trade.

If Mitchell were to come and ask for a trade, however, or indicate that he knew he wouldn’t re-sign in Cleveland, that could be enough to push the Cavs to action. If they did so, this isn’t a situation like the Utah Jazz when they traded Mitchell last summer; Cleveland is talented enough to compete right now, and they aren’t going to take a major step back.

What do the Cavaliers want in a Mitchell trade?

That means a trade package for Mitchell would need to be focused on winning in the present and near future, not the distant future. Expiring contracts and draft picks are not the way to go to woo the Cavaliers’ front office. A team needs to offer young talent that is ready to help them win now; that’s a tall ask, and it limits the potential return.

There are certainly still a few teams that would be in the running, however. One such team is the Sacramento Kings, who could be looking for a third star to pair with De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis. Let’s see what a trade offer from the Kings would look like, and ask the question of whether the Cavs would accept such a royal package.