Bill Simmons believes that Donovan Mitchell leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers is the worst kept secret in the NBA.
The Cavaliers acquired Mitchell prior to the 2022-23 season in a trade with the Utah Jazz. Cleveland gave up Lauri Markkanen, Collin Sexton, Ochai Agbaji, three unprotected first-round picks (2025, 2027 and 2029) and two pick swaps (2026 and 2028) to bring Mitchell to Cleveland.
Bill Simmons' NBA over/under pod was not kind to the Cavs — even though everyone took the Cavs over. Simmons called Donovan Mitchell leaving "the worst kept secret in the NBA" and proceeded to mention several potential suitors throughout the show.
— Ben Axelrod (@BenAxelrod) October 23, 2023
It’s concerning that Simmons and others around the NBA believe that Mitchell will move on from Cleveland when he can.
Mitchell is under contract with the Cavs through the 2024-25 season, and he has a player option for the 2025-26 campaign. However, it seems like he’s unlikely to exercise that option to remain in Cleveland.
The Cavs had a ton of success in Mitchell’s first season with the team, earning the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference. It was the first time that the Cavs made the playoffs since LeBron James left the franchise for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Mitchell also had a ton of personal success in his first season with the Cavs. He averaged a career-high 28.3 points per game, earning All-NBA honors for the first time in his career.
One way that Cleveland could attempt to convince Mitchell to stay is by winning an NBA title – or at least getting close to that goal – in the 2023-24 season.
If the Cavs prove that they are true contenders, they may convince Mitchell to stick around and potentially extend his contract with the franchise.
Last season, Cleveland came up short in the playoffs, losing to the New York Knicks in five games in the first round. That result reportedly won’t be acceptable in the 2023-24 season, as the Cavs would make changes if it were to happen again.
If Mitchell truly won’t commit to the Cavs in the long term, the team could explore trading him after the 2023-24 season since he’d still have a season remaining on his contract (as well as his player option). It would be a disappointing turn of events if the Cavs have to resort to trading Mitchell.
For now, Cavs fans have to focus on the 2023-24 season and hope that the team’s play will be good enough to convince Mitchell to stick around.