Donovan Mitchell

Donovan Mitchell trade grades: Huge win for Cavs, Knicks once again disappoint

Home » NBA » Donovan Mitchell Cavs trade: Grades and analysis of Mitchell trade

The Donovan Mitchell Cavs trade put the Eastern Conference in shambles. The Cleveland Cavaliers are stacked with young talent and look like they could be onto something special for years to come.

Donovan Mitchell Cavs trade

The Utah Jazz have officially entered rebuild mode and Danny Ainge took a page out of Sam Presti’s book. But how did this trade really affect the team?

One could look at this transaction from three different perspectives. The New York Knicks look like big losers, but are they? Did Danny Ainge get the best value for his star? Did the Cleveland Cavaliers overpay for Mitchell? Let’s break it down and grade all these teams.

Knicks – C

Even though they weren’t directly involved, we can’t ignore the fact that the New York Knicks lost again. However, this time could be more complicated than usual. The Knicks offer for Donovan Mitchell was generous, but Ainge wanted to squeeze every asset he could. That’s ok; that’s his job and what he’s supposed to do, and the Knicks may have been right to pass on this deal.

Obviously, Leon Rose didn’t want to bid against himself and pay too much for Mitchell. Spida is a New York native and had strong ties to the organization, they had every asset to outbid the Cavs or any team, but they didn’t do it.


And that’s the real issue here with the Knicks. They should get an A for holding their ground and not overpaying for a change. But they should get an F for everything else they’ve done in the offseason, hence the C. The Knicks tanked their draft to get picks and clear salary cap space. They were supposed to use those picks to get Mitchell, and the cap space to land a point guard. They ended up committing $340 million to Julius Randle, Jalen Brunson, and RJ Barrett.

But more than that, the Knicks are once again proving that they cannot meet their goals. They fail to land a franchise player every offseason and then wind up overpaying and settling for mid-tier players at best. It’s a worrisome pattern.

Jazz – B+

The Utah Jazz flipped Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell for Collin Sexton, Malik Beasley, Talen Horton-Tucker, Walker Kessler, Lauri Markkanen, Jarred Vanderbilt, Ochai Agbaji, Stanley Johnson, Leandro Bolmaro, seven first-round picks, and three pick swaps.

Yeah, that’s an impressive return, no doubt about it. They got young, promising players alongside multiple picks. They have a franchise guard at a discount in Collin Sexton, yada, yada, yada.

But Ainge still could’ve done better. I personally believe Sexton has a higher ceiling than, say, RJ Barrett. But Immanuel Quickley and Obi Toppin might well be even better.


Simply put, Danny Ainge overplayed his hand. He had a deal with the Knicks and got greedy, and wound up taking the second-best trade offer he got for his franchise player. It’s still a huge win for the Jazz, but they’re not the biggest winners of the deal.

Cavaliers – A-

Let’s start by saying that Sexton’s numbers weren’t that different from Mitchell’s, nor was his fit next to Darius Garland. Now that we got that off our chest, we have to tip our hat to the Cleveland Cavaliers for pulling off this deal.

They’re a much better team now than they were two days ago. Some of their picks are protected, and they’re expected to be a playoff team for years to come, so it’s not like those first-rounders are going to be worth a lot anyway.

Losing a potential All-Defensive player in Ochai Agbaji hurts, but you don’t kill the deal for that. Also, they now have arguably the best starting five in the Association, balance-wise.

But perhaps the biggest win for the Cavaliers isn’t even tangible. They sent a message last night; they said they’re here and ready to compete right now, not in two or three years. That’s the kind of message that builds winning cultures, and that’s why they’re the biggest winners of this trade.

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