Donovan Mitchell’s future will remain a topic of conversation until he decides whether or not to commit to the Cleveland Cavaliers for the long term, but team executive Koby Altman has made some reassuring comments regarding his view of the star’s status going forward.
#Cavs POBO Koby Altman reminds us that Donovan Mitchell has two years left in his contract and that he feels that Mitchell genuinely wants to be in Cleveland and win in Cleveland.
— Evan Dammarell (@AmNotEvan) October 2, 2023
Koby Altman feels that Donovan Mitchell really wants to be in Cleveland: "He's been genuine. He wants to win here. He wants to win big here."
— Cavaliers Nation (@WeAreCavsNation) October 2, 2023
Mitchell is eligible to sign a contract extension with the Cavaliers. The 27-year-old has two years left plus a player option on a five-year, $163 million contract he signed with the Utah Jazz in November 2020.
The Cavaliers acquired him in a trade with the Jazz prior to the 2022-23 season in exchange for Lauri Markkanen, Ochai Agbaji, Collin Sexton, three unprotected first-round picks and two pick swaps.
It paid off handsomely for the Cavs, who won 51 games last season and reached the playoffs for the first time since the 2017-18 season. Mitchell earned All-NBA Second Team honors, and head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said he was one of the top five players in the league.
The season ended in disappointing fashion with a five-game loss to the New York Knicks in the first round. Comments Mitchell later made about the atmosphere at Madison Square Garden raised concerns about a possible desire to play for the Knicks, who have long been thought as a possible landing spot for him if he were to leave the Cavaliers.
The Cavs are an up-and-coming team in the league and have high hopes entering this season with Mitchell leading a core that includes Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen and offseason acquisition Max Strus.
However, the topic of Mitchell’s future could become a distraction for the team throughout the campaign, which perhaps is why Altman tried to settle down the speculation with his comments before the games even begin.
Based on the recent significant movement around the NBA of key players like Damian Lillard, trade demand of James Harden and unknown future of Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Cavaliers would be well-served to try to make Mitchell’s future a nonissue as much as they can.