The Utah Jazz got encouraging news about their future draft picks

Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)
Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Cavaliers are not expected to re-sign Donovan Mitchell to a new deal this summer.

The Utah Jazz traded away Donovan Mitchell because they believed they could go as far as possible with him as their centerpiece player. So why anyone would have wanted to pay the king’s (not Sacramento) ransom for him was anyone’s guess. Yet, the Cleveland Cavaliers did just that by sending over Lauri Markkanen, Collin Sexton, Ochai Agbaji, and a bushel of first-round picks.

Markkanen and Sexton are already paying dividends and the hope is that Agbaji will as well with more playing time. And realistically, the idea that those first-round picks would land anywhere higher than the mid-to-late 20s was a pipe dream anyway. So they’d be nice to use as a trade chip or as roster fillers.

But, apparently, those draft picks may end up being higher than previously imagined. The Cavs are a good team with or without Mitchell, but no doubt the team has to figure out things if Mitchell were to leave the team in free agency, a move that may actually end up happening according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.

Windhorst believes that Mitchell won’t sign an extension and will eventually end up in free agency in 2025. The idea is that Mitchell would then go on to sign with the New York Knicks, the franchise he grew up loving as a child. That’s all well and good, but the Cavs may want to re-think their stance on Mitchell and trade him sooner rather than later. He’s under contract for the next two seasons, and could possibly return for a third if he opts into his player option in 2025.

That said, the Cavs would then risk losing him for nothing if they stay the course, and if they do, then the Cavs would be considerably worse off, especially due to the lack of depth they have on their team currently.

The Cavs only won seven more games with Mitchell as opposed to the same team but with Markkanen and Sexton instead. And it should be noted that the Markkanen and Sexton teams won 44 games in 2021-2022 without Sexton playing for most of the year, on top of a slew of other injuries. Yet the Mitchell-led squad of 2022-2023 was far healthier for most of the year but lacked depth. And that depth cost them not only at times in the regular season but in the playoffs as well.

So now that the team doesn’t have that depth in Markkanen and Sexton, and further depleted their depth even more so with the trade of Cedi Osman and Lamar Stevens to the San Antonio Spurs, they can’t afford to lose Mitchell and those first-round picks.

Considering the Jazz don’t start cashing in on the Cavs’ picks until the 2025 offseason, his departure will only do big things for the Jazz.

So if Mitchell does leave, which is all but assured, then those late-first-round picks could jump up to the mid-teens or even the lottery. And while some over in Cleveland believe that a good playoff run could change the mind of Mitchell, what needs to be stated is that no amount of winning can change the Cavs to the Knicks.

It’s not the locale that intrigues Mitchell, but by all accounts, it’s the franchise and the Cavaliers just aren’t the Knicks in that regard. So if the Cavs lose out on Mitchell, then the Jazz will benefit substantially from it, as the Cavaliers no longer have the depth to keep them above the .500 mark, at least with how their roster is constructed today.

And with streaky shooter Max Strus being their only real addition, the Cavs roster may not be as improved as necessary to compete.

Next. 7 Difference-makers the Utah Jazz signed past their prime. dark