Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell is one of the more explosive offensive guards in the NBA. As a result, it’s no wonder that he is expected to be one of the top free agents in the summer of 2025 and that is likely a cause for concern for the Cavs.
After all, Mitchell has been repeatedly linked to the New York Knicks as well as the Miami Heat. Both are likely to pursue him in the summer of 2025 and, according to former teammate Joe Ingles, Mitchell has a desire to play in New York.
If Mitchell’s former teammate is correct, then it is another data point in favor of him leaving the Cavs at the end of the 2024-25 season.
Would the Cavs consider trading Donovan Mitchell?
That potentially puts Cleveland in a bind since he may not ask for a trade and could leave for nothing in free agency in the summer of 2025. Of course, the Knicks would be hard-pressed to sign him outright and may instead try to work out a sign-and-trade with the Cavaliers.
That would obviously be preferable since it would give Cleveland at least something in return for their best player, though he would be going to another team in the Eastern Conference. Considering the top of the conference has gotten better, Cleveland getting worse while another team leapfrogs them would hurt their chances of making the Eastern Conference Finals.
That puts a lot of pressure on them to make a deep playoff run this season and next in hopes of convincing Mitchell to stay. Then again, if he has already made up his mind, they may be better off moving him ahead of time in hopes of receiving more assets than they would in a sign-and-trade.
NBA free agency isn't what it used to be, with big free agent signings becoming rare but eight stars changing teams in the summer of 2024.
Ultimately, with rumors continuing to swirl about Mitchell and the Knicks, it seems increasingly likely that next season may be his final season in Cleveland. Things can obviously change between now and then and a successful season could convince him that Cleveland is the right place for him but the Cavs seemingly face an uphill battle to keep him.