Grade the Trade: Cavaliers trade Mitchell for broken former star in new pitch

Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers and Ben Simmons, Brooklyn Nets
Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers and Ben Simmons, Brooklyn Nets / Dustin Satloff/GettyImages
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Donovan Mitchell might walk away from the Cleveland Cavaliers.

That's a difficult truth that the Cavaliers front office has to reckon with. Mitchell has never chosen for himself which team he plays for; he was drafted by the Utah Jazz and traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Whether it's to play in a different city or to team up with certain players, when Mitchell has the opportunity to hit unrestricted free agency, he could decide to leave the Cavaliers.

That clock is ticking, as Mitchell can choose to become a free agent in the summer of 2025. He will be eligible for a contract extension next summer. Mitchell hasn't given any public indication that he desires to leave the Cavaliers, but until he signs a new deal the possibility that he walks stays on the table, becoming more of a probability as time goes on.

The "savvy" move might be to trade Donovan Mitchell now, maximizing the return and moving forward with the rest of their young core. It's also the cold and heartless move, and the only way it happens is if Mitchell indicates he isn't planning to stay in Cleveland long-term, and if another team blows the Cavs away with an offer.

Cavaliers have to be blown away to trade Donovan Mitchell

Mitchell isn't damaged goods. He doesn't have chronic injury concerns. He isn't on an overpriced contract. He isn't playing for a lottery team. The Cavaliers can rightly negotiate from a place of strength, only moving Mitchell for the right trade package.

Popular trade site Fanspo didn't get the memo. They put together a proposed trade that would send Donovan Mitchell to another Eastern Conference team. At risk of spoiling the grade at the end of the piece: their trade is outrageous and the Cavaliers likely hang up the phone immediately upon hearing it.

Let's walk through the deal and analyze it from every angle.

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