According to Action Network’s Matt Moore, the Nets and New York Knicks could be options for Mitchell, who is under contract with the Cavs through the 2024-25 season. Mitchell has a player option on his deal for the 2025-26 campaign.
“Everyone expects, and has expected, Donovan Mitchell to leave the Cavs in free agency,” Moore wrote. “There’s conflicting belief about whether or not Mitchell has informed the Cavs of anything regarding his future. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst has reported for months going on years that Mitchell will not re-sign with Cleveland. One name I heard from multiple sources to look out for if the Knicks can’t get a deal done for Mitchell is the always-star-shopping Brooklyn Nets, who have a plethora of assets to get such a deal done.”
While the Cavs would be in a tough spot if Mitchell were to refuse to sign a new deal with the franchise, Cleveland doesn’t have to panic yet.
Since Mitchell is under contract through the 2024-25 season, the Cavs have the option of playing out the rest of the 2023-24 season to see how far they can go in the playoffs with Mitchell as the centerpiece on the roster.
It’s possible that the team could convince Mitchell to stay long term if it makes a deep playoff run this season.
If not, the Cavs would have the offseason before the 2024-25 campaign — as well as the time up until the trade deadline next season — to find a suitor for Mitchell rather than risk losing him for nothing in free agency.
The Cavs acquired Mitchell prior to the 2022-23 season in a massive deal with the Utah Jazz, and he promptly led the team to the playoffs as the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference last season.
However, the Cavs struggled in the playoffs, losing to the Knicks in five games in the first round. Cleveland has a great young core with Mitchell, Darius Garland, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen, but it may not be able to plan on that being the team in the long run.
Brooklyn has stockpiled assets from trades with the Phoenix Suns (moving Kevin Durant) and Dallas Mavericks (moving Kyrie Irving) that could help it make a run at Mitchell — should Cleveland decide to deal the star guard.
The Nets have formidable trade chips such as Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson that could make sense for the Cavs to give Garland some help as well.
For now, the Cavs have to wait and see where things go on the Mitchell front, as it would be foolish for the team to move on from him this season unless the squad falls way out of playoff contention by the trade deadline.
Cleveland is currently the No. 9 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Mitchell, who was an All-NBA selection last season, has played well for the Cavs in the 2023-24 season. He is averaging 27.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game while shooting 45.2 percent from the field and 34.9 percent from 3-point range.