The Cleveland Cavaliers aren’t interested in hearing any trade proposals for Donovan Mitchell. According to Marc Stein, the team has a “don’t even bother calling” mentality regarding the four-time All-Star’s availability.
“The Cavaliers continue to send signals that they have no interest in fielding trade offers for Donovan Mitchell. Zero interest.” via The Stein Line
This should not come as much of a surprise. The Cavaliers have repeatedly voiced their commitment to Mitchell and the core four. Back in December, Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports reported on Cleveland’s long-term hope of keeping this roster together.
“Cleveland officials have maintained a commitment to this core of four All-Star talents, according to league sources.” via Yahoo Sports
This came shortly after the Cavaliers announced both Evan Mobley and Darius Garland would be sidelined for extended time due to injury. Cleveland stuck to their guns even with dark times potentially on the horizon.
Since then, the Cavaliers have rallied to go 8-3 without two of their star players. This successful stretch has emboldened the front office to keep the core together and give them a fighter’s chance at finishing the season strong.
“Team officials have likewise been emboldened by a recent 8-3 surge without Mobley and Garland … and with Jarrett Allen playing some of the best basketball of his career to likewise hush any notion that the Cavaliers are willing to deal Allen any time soon.” Via The Stein Line
The Cavs currently stand 4th in the East with the 10th easiest remaining schedule. Returning to full strength in February could put them in a position to hit their stride heading into the playoffs.
Of course, other teams are still attempting to pry Mitchell away from the Cavaliers. Links to Mitchell’s hometown teams, the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks remain. However, Stein reports that the Miami Heat are the most likely landing spot — in the event Cleveland has a change of heart and elects to trade Mitchell.
The Heat have a “bona fide” interest in adding Mitchell to form a big three with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. After striking out in the Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal sweepstakes this summer, Miami could feel the urge to swing big for Mitchell. Whether or not they have a package worthy of piquing Cleveland’s interest is unclear — if not doubtful.
The Cavaliers have another full year on Mitchell’s contract before they need to hit the panic button. However, an opportunity for Mitchell to sign an extension this summer could give them clarity on the situation. For now, it seems unlikely the Cavs would punt on a player of Mitchell’s caliber without a good reason.
Instead, Stein and Chris Haynes reported on their “#thisleague UNCUT” podcast that the Cavaliers are focused on upgrading at the small forward position before the trade deadline. This has long been a gap in Cleveland’s rotation and while Max Strus has been highly impactful — a true 3-and-D wing could take them over the top
Who exactly are the Cavs targeting? That hasn’t been revealed. Nor is it known who the Cavaliers could trade. If we are to assume the core four is safe, that places Caris LeVert as their heftiest trade chip.
This franchise is no stranger to the NBA rumor mill. Years of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love gave Cleveland the full experience. We can expect the rumors to keep on coming as pressure to compete for another title ramps up during Mitchell’s tenure.
For now, the Cavaliers are in Paris and the vibes appear to be all good. So my suggestion to the fan base? Sit back, ignore the drama — and enjoy the season.