It’s finally over. After what has seemed like an eternity for Jazz fans, the trade rumors and speculation are finished.
Donovan Mitchell is headed east… just not all the way to the coast. Instead of going to the New York Knicks like most people expected, the three-time All-Star is headed to Cleveland after the Jazz and Cavs agreed to a trade on Thursday.
As part of the deal, Utah will receive three unprotected first-round picks, two pick swaps, Lauri Markkanen, Collin Sexton and Ochair Agbaji. Sexton, who was a restricted free agent, will sign a four-year, $72 million deal as part of the trade. The point guard was the No. 8 pick in the 2018 draft and and has averaged 20.8 points 3.3 assists per game. He also shooting 37.8% from beyond the arc.
G Collin Sexton
F Ochai Agbaji
F Lauri Markkanan
Two pick swaps (2026, 2028)
Three unprotected first-round picks (2025, 2027, 2029)
G Donovan Mitchell
Let’s grade the move for both sides.
Utah Jazz: B+
Hard to dispute what Utah did here. The Jazz want to execute a full-blown tank, and this move brings this significantly closer to the No. 1 overall pick.
It’s a sad end for the Mitchell-Gobert era, though Utah could jumpstart a rebuild pretty quickly if it ends up with Victor Wembanyama. The 7-foot-3 Frenchman is considered a generational prospect, somewhere between LeBron James and Zion Williamson — with the skill set of Giannis Antetokounmpo.
It will be years before we really know what this trade means for the Jazz. If there’s one person who has ended up on the right side of the draft pick gamble though, it’s Danny Ainge.
While the Jazz didn’t garner the draft capital they received in the Rudy Gobert trade that was made just under two months ago, the Jazz were certainly not swindled. After landing and extending Collin Sexton – who averaged 24.3 points per game during the 2020-2021 campaign – the Jazz have given their offense a young focal point to build around.
The only reason the Jazz don’t receive an A grade for the deal would be that after some of the rumored trade offers from the Knicks, it’s hard to imagine the Jazz don’t have the thought of “what could have been” in the back of their mind. However, a deal containing a young star, a rookie straight out of the lottery, a starting caliber stretch four, as well as draft capital certainly won’t leave the Jazz feeling like the losers of this deal.
Cleveland Cavaliers: A
The Cavaliers gave up a large haul of both picks and players in the trade. But looking at what the Jazz got for Rudy Gobert and what they were rumored to get from the Knicks for Donovan Mitchell, the Cavaliers can’t help feeling like they may have gotten off easy.
Despite concerns about a defensively weak backcourt, the Cavaliers have officially made a large step towards contending for a championship – if not now then in the near future – and it is very hard to put a price tag on a Larry O’Brien trophy.
Also, after extending All-Star guard Darius Garland, it was unlikely for the Cavaliers to keep Collin Sexton in the mix. Trading Sexton for a bona fide superstar in Donovan Mitchell is one of the best uses for someone Cleveland felt like they no longer had use for.