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 /
2 of 3
NBA 23-and-under
Keegan Murray, Sacramento Kings. Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images /

Laying out a Mitchell trade

As with any trade for a star, trading for Donovan Mitchell is a multi-step process. A team needs to match Mitchell’s salary, set to $33.16 million for the 2023-24 NBA season. They need to build a package of players and assets that appeals to the Cavaliers, while also leaving themselves with a team ready to compete around Mitchell. That’s not an easy task.

Even so, this trade pitched this week by our own Gage Morgan attempts to thread the needle. Here’s what the offer from the Kings would look like:

The goal for the Kings would be to add a third star to the mix, raising their floor and making them truly impossible to defend. Sacramento had the most efficient offense in league history last season, but in the playoffs, the Golden State Warriors were able to take away De’Aaron Fox and force Malik Monk to try and create offense. Mitchell’s on-ball scoring and playmaking is a significant step up.

This trade would erode their forward depth, but the Kings would hope to be able to fill that in with the newly signed Sasha Vezenkov and the returning Trey Lyles. They could roll out a starting lineup of De’Aaron Fox, Donovan Mitchell, Domantas Sabonis, Trey Lyles and either Isaac Okoro or Vezenkov at the 3, with Chris Duarte, Malik Monk, Alex Len and Davion Mitchell coming off of the bench.

If this deal makes sense for the Kings to take a swing, would it be enough of a return for the Cavaliers to say yes?