Grade the Trade: Mitchell heads home as Cavaliers retool in monumental new pitch

The Cleveland Cavaliers will have a busy offseason one way or the other. Would this trade to send Donovan Mitchell home be enough to pull the trigger?
Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers
Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages
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The Cleveland Cavaliers are launching into a summer of chaos and change.

That's what it appears from the outside, at the very least, now that the Cavaliers' season is over after a five-game, injury-riddled loss to the Boston Celtics in the second round of the NBA Playoffs. They have a quartet of stars as talented as any in the league, but they fit together like jigsaw pieces from different puzzles. Add in friction between head coach J.B. Bickerstaff and the front office and you get a team that almost has to make big changes this offseason.

The first decision point will be the future of head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, but the second is likely the day that the NBA Finals end. At that point, Donovan Mitchell will be officially eligible to sign an extension with the Cavaliers. If he declines to do so, the team will have some big decisions to make. It has been reported that the team believes that he will sign that extension, but those reports are only right until they aren't. What Mitchell will decide to do is still very much up in the air.

The Cavaliers will have to weigh trading Donovan Mitchell

The Cavaliers could try to go into next season and hope that they achieve enough team success to convince Mitchell to stick around when he can hit unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2025. That team success might require moving on from Darius Garland (who may request a trade if Mitchell is still on the team, per reports) or splitting up their double-big combination of Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley. Those are significant moves to make without a long-term commitment from Mitchell.

The other option is trading Donovan Mitchell and letting a league filled with teams hungry for a perimeter star to outbid one another for his services. The Cavaliers likely cannot recoup everything that they sent out for Mitchell, especially considering how well Lauri Markkanen is playing now, but they can get a lot back for a player in high demand.

A number of teams have already been linked to Mitchell, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets. The Nets in particular are a compelling trade partner because they lack an on-ball star; that suggests that they may be willing to offer up the largest return package for Mitchell when push comes to shove. Those other teams are looking for co-stars; the Nets are desperately trying to find their first star (no disrespect meant to Mikal Bridges; he's just not a 1A shot creator).

Let's look at one proposed trade package from the Nets and see if it would be enough to entice Cleveland to the table.