Cleveland Cavaliers advance their timeline while sustaining the youth movement
How often can a team trade for a legitimate All-Star without giving up other players of the same caliber? The Cleveland Cavaliers were able to keep their three best players while adding on a player who’s better than all of them at this current juncture.
Through the first five years of his career, Mitchell has averaged 23.9 points, 4.5 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game. Although there have been some Playoff duds along the way and his team’s upside was always capped, Mitchell was the driving force in establishing the Jazz as a perennial Playoff team since entering the league. Now, he gets the chance to join something with more promise than he’s ever experienced at this level.
On the surface level, this is a huge win for both Cleveland and Utah. Mitchell is under contract through 2025 with a player option for the following year. With the triad of Mobley, Garland and Allen under control for several years to come, the Cavaliers are in a strong position to give this core the time and chemistry to build into a legitimate Finals contender.
But when looking a bit deeper, there are some areas of concern. Cleveland has effectively drained its war chest for the next several years, making it more difficult to flesh out a roster surrounding the young core. Their city isn’t neccesarily a free-agent destination, so it won’t be as easy to attack veterans on cheap deals compared with a flashier market.
It’s also very difficult to build a title contender with two small guards leading the show. Garland and Mitchell are both listed at 6’1″ and neither is known for their defensive prowess, so opposing backcourts will attack them relentlessly. In theory, the great wall of Mobley and Allen will supplement that with superior rim defense, but defending the 3-point line might be an issue.
All things considered, it’s still a good trade for the Cavaliers. They didn’t even have to include wing prospect Isaac Okoro, and with Kevin Love’s money coming off the books next summer, Cleveland will be able to balance its cap sheet without devastating luxury tax ramifications.
Instant Grade for the Cleveland Cavaliers: B+
From the earliest look, this appears to be one of the NBA’s rare win/win trades.