© 2022 WKSU
Public Radio News for Northeast Ohio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Bringing you a new perspective on Ohio sports every Wednesday morning.

Cavs go 'all in' with Donovan Mitchell trade

Cavs players Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell
Cleveland Cavaliers
Cavs players Darius Garland (left) and Donovan Mitchell will be key pieces of the team this season.

The Cleveland Cavaliers will introduce their new star on Wednesday. Donovan Mitchell was acquired in a blockbuster trade with Utah earlier this month.

Mitchell was an All-Star in Utah, but commentator Terry Pluto said he's likely unknown to many Cavs fans.

"[Utah] has had good teams out there but not great teams. But this guy is a terrific scoring guard."

Mitchell is a three-time NBA All-Star (2020-22) with a career average of 23.9 points in five NBA seasons, all with Utah.

"But here's the numbers they looked at: In 39 playoff games, Donovan Mitchell's average is 28 points," Pluto said.

As for the Cavs, this is a trade that the front office hopes will get them back into the playoffs.

"The last time the Cavaliers made the playoffs on a team without LeBron James was 1998. The last time the Cavs won a round in the playoffs without LeBron James was 1993. Dan Gilbert, the owner, Koby Altman, the team president, and Mike Gansey, the general manager, they were here when LeBron left and they really want to show that they could put this thing together without him," Pluto said.

In exchange, Cleveland has sent guard Collin Sexton, forward Lauri Markkanen, guard Ochai Agbaji and three future unprotected first round draft picks (2025, 2027, 2029) to Utah, while also agreeing to swap picks in 2026 and 2028.

"Collin Sexton basically was passed over by Darius Garland. They drafted two small guards back to back. Garland became an All-Star and they realized those two guys playing together was a problem. And then last year, Collin Sexton suffered a significant knee injury and played only the first 11 games of the season, and that was it. Lauri Markkanen is seven-foot and can shoot. But if you're going to get Donovan Mitchell, you have to give up somebody," Pluto said.

Pluto said it's one of the biggest trades in Cavs' history in terms of assets.

"The feeling is if you can get an All-Star like Donovan Mitchell to come to Cleveland, he's under contract for at least three more years. And Darius Garland is in the backcourt. Both have made All-Star teams. There's Jarrett Allen, who's made the All-Star team as a center. And Evan Mobley, who most people in the NBA believe will soon be an All-Star. And then they've got to figure out that fifth spot."

Pluto says the team has some time to figure it all out.

"If you're the team, you're saying, I got a taste of it last year, 44-38. But I saw my team really falter down the stretch because they couldn't score. It doesn't have to happen this year. I just want to get better this year and get in the playoffs. Then the next year you go, 'I want to win a round or two.' You have actually some time to build because at 26-years-old, Donovan Mitchell will probably be my oldest starter."

Amanda Rabinowitz is the host of “All Things Considered” on Ideastream Public Media.