OKBET Basketball News – As the Jazz continue their rebuild, the Cavs shocked the NBA world by trading for three-time All-Star Donovan Mitchell. Was it, however, a good deal for Cleveland? Is Utah getting better or worse? Was Mitchell passed up by the Knicks?
As the dust settles, our NBA writers weigh in.
Is this a good or bad deal for the Cavs?
Howard Beck says Excellent deal for Cleveland… albeit with a few, er, Cav-eats. (I’m sorry, but it was RIGHT THERE.) Because of Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley, the Cavs were already an elite defensive team. Mitchell and Darius Garland have given them a dynamic one-two scoring punch. This could be a top-five team in the East. But there are some caveats. Mitchell and Garland are both high-usage, ball-controlling guards, with the former being a three-time All-Star and the latter being a newly minted All-Star who has just had his best season. They’ll have to work on their chemistry, but it’s a deal the Cavs had to make.
Herring, Chris: It’s a good deal, but I’m not sure it’s great. The Cavs improved dramatically on defense, with Darius Garland emerging as the undisputed offensive leader. With the addition of Mitchell, Garland’s ball-handling responsibilities will be divided, and Cleveland’s defense will be weakened. Of course, there is more offensive upside now. Mitchell, on the other hand, must believe in what the Cavs have built on defense.
Robin Lundberg: Excellent deal. While Garland and Mitchell may not be the best defensive pairing, Cleveland has a versatile piece in Evan Mobley and a presence inside Jarrett Allen. It was a core that could use more scoring and playmaking, and given that the franchise isn’t exactly a destination franchise, putting the chips in when a player was available makes sense, even if Spida isn’t without flaws.
Mannix, Chris: Excellent offer. The Mitchell-Garland backcourt is undersized, but that doesn’t matter when they’re guarded by defensive monsters, Allen and Mobley. If Garland, Mobley, and Isaac Okoro continue to improve, they will be conference contenders. What happens next summer, when Mitchell is eligible for an extension, is the question. What if he declines a three-year contract extension? Do the Cavs keep him? Or will they trade Mitchell, who has two years left on his contract, for the best offer?
Nadkarni, Rohan: Excellent offer! The Cavs aren’t often in a position to go out and acquire a talent like Mitchell. The price is comparable to what a top-25 player costs in the current NBA. When you consider Mitchell’s age and the three years remaining on his contract, it becomes an even better bet for Cleveland. Mitchell, Garland, Allen, and especially Mobley have room to develop. If given enough time, this group has the potential to become a contender. Given that the Cavs had few options for acquiring this type of talent and did not give up any All-Stars in the process, I don’t see how this is a bad move.
Is this a good or bad deal for the Jazz?
Herring: Fair enough. And it appears that it was not the best one they could have had. Was this a case of Ainge trying to get back at the Knicks, who played hardball with him? I would have preferred a slew of New York picks with similar protections and swaps and some of the Knicks’ young talent.
Nadkarni: I suppose it’s a good deal. This is what matters right now. You’re either trying to win or accumulating as many drafts as possible. This move will be worthwhile if Utah can tank its way into Victor Wembanyama or another high-level prospect over the next few seasons. If the Jazz can’t land a top lottery pick, I’m not sure those extra Cavs and Wolves choices will make a difference.
Mannix: Excellent deal. Danny Ainge got what he wanted: a cache of draft picks to go along with the cache of draft picks Utah received in exchange for Rudy Gobert. They are in a position to bottom out, which will put them in the running for Victor Wembanyama, the prize of the 2023 draft, and the type of player the Jazz could never attract otherwise. It will be ugly next season, but it is Utah’s only chance to return to contention.
Beck: Good deal. Collin Sexton has a proven track record as a scorer and shot creator. Ochai Agbaji is a solid scorer and defender who was drafted 14th overall. The picks will most likely be in the 20s. When trading All-Stars in this league, you rarely get full value. (As the Mitchell trade demonstrates, the Rudy Gobert haul was both unusual and unreasonable.) But the Jazz got what they needed: a large amount of draft capital, young players they can either develop or trade, and the assurance that they will be bad enough to get a high pick next June.
Lundberg: That’s a good deal. The Jazz probably did about as well as they could in offloading Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. I don’t see a headline acquisition here, so how Utah uses the treasure trove of picks acquired will ultimately be judged. That isn’t a measurable haul, but it was reasonable to move on from a core that had reached its limit and stock up for a rebuild.
Is this a good or bad deal for the Knicks?
Nadkarni: Awful deal. It’s not quite that simple, but if this was the price for Mitchell, the Knicks should never have signed Jalen Brunson and instead made this move. Or, with the extra draft capital they accumulated this summer, they should have swung the deal for three firsts anyway. Mitchell’s playoff struggles this year haven’t convinced me to lay him to rest. And talents like his aren’t often available at his age. The Knicks, in my opinion, should have done it.
What is your current ranking of the Cavaliers in the East?
Mannix: I believe the Cavs will finish 4-6 next season. Remember, Cleveland was vying for a top-three seed before injuries derailed the season’s second half. Mitchell, combined with organic growth from the rest of the roster, should put the Cavs right back in that league. The Eastern Conference is tough, with Boston, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, and Miami difficult to knock out of the top five, but Cleveland now has the talent to compete with any of them.
Beck: They’re not as dominant as the Celtics or Bucks (the previous two Eastern Conference champions), nor are they as talented as the Nets (yes, there are many caveats here), nor are they as experienced as the Sixers. In that fifth through seventh tier, the Cavs will compete with the Heat (who won the most games in the East last season) and the rising Raptors. I haven’t even mentioned the Hawks’ improved play. (Do you see what I mean? The East is difficult!)
Nadkarni: If things go wrong in Philly and Brooklyn, the Cavs could be the third-best team in the East at their peak. For the time being, I believe they have the fifth-best chance to represent the conference in the Finals.
Herring: If the Cavs stay healthy, I believe they can finish in the top five or six, trailing Milwaukee, Boston, and Philadelphia. Given how small the Cavs are on the perimeter, having both Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley healthy will be critical, as we saw at the end of last year. However, this trade isn’t just about this year. Cleveland’s core is young and, if it gels, has the potential to be a force at some point.