Grading blockbuster Donovan Mitchell trade to spark Cavaliers youth movement

New Orleans Pelicans v Cleveland Cavaliers
New Orleans Pelicans v Cleveland Cavaliers / Jason Miller/GettyImages
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Laying out the deal

The Utah Jazz and Cleveland Cavaliers are in entirely separate places at the point of a Mitchell trade, meaning the ideal trade packages are far from alike. Utah was ready to begin their rebuild; meanwhile, the Cavs are preparing for a future centered around their current young stars.

Cleveland will have plenty of possibilities with the Pelicans, then, as New Orleans has repeatedly hit on their draft nights in recent years. Additionally, New Orleans' youth includes several tall, talented forwards to complement Garland and Mobley.

Mitchell Cavs-NOP mock trade

In this deal, the Pels finally land the final player to build their own big three with Mitchell as the on-ball captain to match Zion's and Brandon Ingram's electric athleticism. New Orleans also retains their budding Australian point guard Dyson Daniels, an elite facilitator and perimeter defender. Daniels, at 6-foot 7-inches, would complement Mitchell in the backcourt, helping alleviate the Pelicans from the issues that plagued Cleveland.

As Windhorst suggested, the Cavaliers will not look for a trade partner for Mitchell until the offseason. Once the summer rolls around, the Pelicans and Cavs will have the cap space flexibility to maneuver the numerous contracts without overstepping current CBA guidelines. Georges Niang's inclusion in the deal helps balance the salaries and gives the Pelicans a veteran floor spacer.

In the summer, the Cavaliers would send out more than $30 million, meaning they could take back up to 120 percent of their outgoing trade value plus $250,000 if they remain under the luxury tax. This deal just barely passes, and Cleveland could include other salaries in Ty Jerome or Damian Jones to even it out further.

Should the Pelicans re-sign Jonas Valanciunas in free agency, the Pelicans would also have a starting five with exceptional floor spacing, opening the lane for dynamic cuts from their star trio. The Pelicans likely value Jones and Murphy as nearly untouchable, but they would reduce the financial strains from McCollum's inflated contract. In the process of adding Mitchell, the Pels also only surrender two real first-round picks.

How do the Cavaliers react as the seller, though? They gave up so much to get Mitchell. Is this return enough?