The Cleveland Cavaliers won the Donovan Mitchell sweepstakes last year, beating various competition for the former Utah Jazz star’s services. One of them was the Miami Heat, who could have used a package centered around Tyler Herro to land Mitchell.
Utah ultimately chose the Cavs’ treasure trove of assets consisting of Lauri Markkanen, Collin Sexton, Ochai Agbaji and a plethora of draft capital. But apparently, the Jazz reportedly considered sending Mitchell to Miami, as they seemingly valued Herro enough for it to be a “key talking point” in trade negotiations.
“For the [Portland Trail] Blazers’ hopes of finding a multi-team package with Miami, there is optimism among league personnel that Portland will find at least a first-round pick from another franchise that’s more keen to welcome Tyler Herro,” wrote Jake Fischer of Yahoo! Sports. “Although outside of early rumblings about Brooklyn and Chicago, the only team even loosely connected as a Herro suitor has been Utah. The Jazz’s valuation of Herro was a key talking point around last year’s Summer League, too, as team staffers were readying for Utah to move on from Donovan Mitchell — in a trade sweepstakes that NBA figures believed would come down to the Heat’s offer featuring Herro, similar to their possible package for [Damian] Lillard, and a potential offer from New York that could have included R.J. Barrett. Both players went on to sign four-year contracts worth about $30 million in average annual salary, which will begin with this 2023-24 season.”
A year later after the fateful trade and non-trade, things have turned out well for all the teams involved.
Cleveland finally got its franchise player, with Mitchell becoming the first Cavs player to earn an All-NBA selection since LeBron James. The four-time All-Star was named to the All-NBA Second Team in the 2022-23 campaign after posting 28.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists per match in the regular season.
Mitchell was also a major catalyst in the organization’s first playoff appearance in five years. Even so, it could have gone better for the Cavs, as they lost in the first round to the New York Knicks, another Mitchell suitor in the 2022 offseason.
As for Utah, it was able to recover quite well from losing “Spida.” Markkanen was a revelation last campaign. While he played well as a starter for Cleveland in the 2021-22 season, the Finnish fared better as the Jazz’ No. 1 option.
Markkanen finished the 2022-23 campaign with averages of 25.6 points and 8.6 rebounds per contest. He was also voted into the 2023 All-Star Game and took home the 2023 Most Improved Player award. Evidently, the future is bright for Markkanen and Utah.
Despite Miami not landing Mitchell, the squad still had a successful 2022-23 season, reaching the Finals as the East’s eighth seed. But in true Heat fashion, the franchise is going star-hunting again, this time targeting disgruntled Blazers star Lillard.
The 32-year-old point guard has been vocal about Miami being his sole preferred destination. But the Blazers have so far resisted the Heat’s supposed proposed package headlined by Herro. It seems the Blazers do not value the shooting guard as much as the Jazz did last summer.