CLEVELAND, Ohio — Cavaliers president Coby Altman is right when he said the Donovan Mitchell deal is “probably the biggest tradeoff in franchise history.”
Three first round picks and three players (Laurie Markkanen, Colin Sexton and 2022 first-round pick Ochai Agbazi) is the biggest in terms of assets traded to Utah for Mitchell. The team did two franchise-changing businesses when it was acquired by Cavs. Brad Daughterty and Mark Price during the 1986 draft.
But this business is huge. This is a gamble because of the trading of future first rounders (2025, 2027 and 2029). Markkanen and Sexton will likely start for Utah.
I asked Altman about the high price for Mitchell, a career 24-point scorer.
“This is a 26-year-old, three-time All-Star,” he said. “It gets pretty easy, doesn’t it? Basically, my job is to bring the best talent to Cleveland, and I’m sitting next to one of the best players in the world.
Let’s see On draft status:
1. Altman knows the Cavs probably won’t have a first-round pick in 2023. That selection would go to Indiana in the Carris LeVert deal, assuming the Cavs make the playoffs.
2. For the rest of the decade, CAV will have the first round of picks in 2024, 2026 and 2028.
3. Unless they receive another first round pick, they will not be able to trade any of their choices due to the Ted Stepien rule. This prevents a team from not having a first-rounder for two consecutive years.
So Altman also acknowledged that trading “comes with pain.”
But as coach JB Bickerstaff told me after the press conference: “Getting Donovan is a no-brainer.”
The Cavs are losing and drafting. In the last five years, they have picked Sexton (2018), Darius Garland (2019), Isaac Okoro (2020), Evan Mobley (2021) and Agazi (2022) in the first round.
He also used a first-round pick he received from Milwaukee to trade for Jarrett Allen in 2020. Allen and Garland are already All-Stars. They correctly believe that Mobley will soon join them in that distinction.
Mitchell is a three-time All-Star. He is the four leading players aged 26 or under.
“We are super young and the timeline fits with this group to bring in this caliber of player,” Altman said. “I think we’ve earned the opportunity to try to compete against the best in the world.”
time to take the next step
The Cavs were 44-38 last season. This was his first winning record without LeBron James since 1997–98. Altman is looking to secure a strong spot in the playoffs.
“When you make it simple, is Donovan Mitchell going to make us a better basketball team? – Yes!” Altman said. “How do we accomplish this? You go through the pain of it, but I think we are all really happy and excited about what we can do.”
Bickerstaff was all set, even though he knew he had to figure out how to play with a pair of 6-foot-1 guards, who both liked to handle the ball. It didn’t work out well with Garland and Sexton, but Mitchell is the better player.
“You add a man at this stage and you start foaming at the mouth,” Bickerstaff told me. “You feel like you have a chance to do something special.”
Altman and Bickerstaff emphasized the character of Mitchell.
“How he positions himself in the community and makes an impact for others is important,” Bickerstaff said. “When you don’t have to sacrifice people on talent, you give yourself a chance to make something special.”
The “people over talent” comment is meant to bring up a talented player who has attitude problems. Michelle is not in that category. He came across as thoughtful, kind, and excited to be with Cleveland.
playoffs and more
“Donovan has the ability to rise to the occasion and play in the moment,” Bickerstaff said. “How many people have numbers going to the playoffs, especially at a young age?”
In his six NBA seasons, Mitchell Average 23.9 marks. in 39 playoff games, it is 28.3. Twice he has scored 50 points in a playoff game.
I asked Bickerstaff who would be the shorter front in the lineup with 6-foot-1 guard Mitchell and Garland with 7-foot Allen and Mobley.
The coach was not sure. He talked about the matchup and how much time he needed to find out. They have candidates like Okoro, Levert and Sedi Osman.
If they want a bigger lineup, it’s Kevin Love and Dean Wade. Bickerstaff said that Love is “really excited” about Donovan’s business.
“We have quality starter guys who can come off the bench like Kevin Love,” he said. “If you can keep two or three of your top six players on the floor at all times and play some of your starters against backup – that gives you an advantage.”
I believe the fifth position may vary depending on the performance of the opposition and different candidates.
“Here’s a runway,” Altman said. “I don’t want anyone to think that this year we have to be brawled or busted. That’s not it. It’s a real runway for these guys to grow together, learn to play together.”
So it would take a few years to know if this was really a franchise-changing business for Cavs. that’s good news. Because with this young group, a little patience will be required.
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