CLEVELAND, Ohio – I scribbled in my notebook after talking to some NBA members about the Cavaliers’ massive deal with Utah to bring Donovan Mitchell to Cleveland:
1. Evan Mobley. That’s what an NBA source started with when I asked him about the Cavs deal. Call it “net plus”. Like a few NBA sources, he said, “It’s hard to get a star to come to Cleveland. It’s not just Cleveland, it’s most other small markets. Trading with Mitchell three years into his contract brings a star to Cleveland.”
2. Former CAFS coach Mike Fratelo can score because he works in broadcasting. He played a lot of Clippers games last season, seeing Mitchell in the Western Conference. “Mitchell is one of only five or six players who can go out and get 50 points in a playoff. It’s important to have a guy like that.”
3. I wondered if Mitchell had scored 50 points in one game. It happened Twice in the 2020 Utah/Denver series. Mitchell scored 57 points (19 from 33 shots) and 51 points (15 from 27 shots). Unfortunately for his team in Utah, the Jazz had a 3-1 lead in That’s my best streak out of seven in the first round, then lost my last three matches.
4. Mitchell fought 39 playoffs in his career, average of 28.3 points. NBA sources have spoken out about the Cavs’ problems finding a player besides Darius Garland who can create his own shot in challenging games. This was evident in the Cavs Championship matches.
5. The 6-foot-1 Fratelo Mitchell has compared to Joe Domars for “having some size and strength” despite being a smaller ranger as well. Talk about how Isaiah Thomas and Domar (both in the 6-foot-2 range) have been a great backyard in Detroit for years. Could Garland and Mitchell be that way in Cleveland?
6. The Cavs finally want to make the playoffs and win the Tour without LeBron James on the roster. His last full appearance outside James was in the 1998 play-off with Fratello as head coach. The last time a non-James team won a tour was in 1993 with Lenny Wilkins as head coach.
7. Cleveland Unprotected first-round picks traded in 2025, 2027 and 2029 to Utah with Colin Sexton, Laurie Markkanen and Ochai Agbaji (first round selection for 2022). The two teams also agreed to exchange picks in 2026 and 2028. It is likely that the two teams will not be in the first round in 2023. If they do the playoffs, that will go to Indiana in the Caris LeVert deal.
8. This brings us to Mobley, the Cavs’ first-round pick for 2021 who looks like the star of the future. Average 7 footer 15.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.7 blocks. He also fired .508 from the field. Those are solid numbers for a novice, but what impressed the NBA sources the most was the “elite defense.”
9. An NBA source suggested that there were times when the Cavs could play Mobley in a junior striker. “He’s athletic enough to do that,” the source said. The Cavs could have put Kevin Love up front and Garrett Allen in center – to recreate the “big three lineup” the Cavs had with Mobley, Allen and Markkanen last season. Those Big Three with Love couldn’t play the Big Three Markanen, but there are times when the Cavs could use this combination.
10. All-star goalkeeper Garland Under Control team for six years (Thanks to his maximum contract extension). The Cavs stand a chance of keeping Mobley under team control for a longer period. mobile Three years left of his rookie deal. The Cavs are eligible to give him a long-term extension for him in the summer of 2024 — like the five-year extension they offered Garland after his third season in the NBA. Most players take the maximum extensions for the first decade.
11. If Garland and Mobley have been together for most of the decade, those picks traded with Utah aren’t as valuable as they would be low in the first round. The Cavs own Allen (four years) and Mitchell (three years plus a player option) on a multi-year contract. The Cavs Big Four will be together for at least three years.
12. “At first, you think—wow! The Cavs gave up so much to get this guy (Mitchell).” “But the NBA doesn’t value choices like they did before. Also, you need a guy who can go out and get a basket in a tricky part of the game. He can do that. It’s explosive and it will get better.”
13. Not trading Mobley, Garland or Allen was key to sealing the deal for the Cavs. Consider their ages: Mitchell (26), Allen (24), Garland (22) and Mobley (21). The Cavs are now betting on internal growth and coach JB Bickerstaff to keep the defensive level high (ranked #5 last year) with 6-1 from Mitchell and Garland.
14. Two NBA sources said the Cavs still had a “big problem” when it came to 3-point shooting. They question LeVert or Isaac Okoro as little strikers – they don’t shoot well from the outside. This is something they will need to face this season. Mitchell is a shooter with 36% of the 3-point range. This is respectable, not elite.
15. An NBA source said: “I give credit to the Caves for not trying to buy time by being conservative and waiting for young players. They decided they were going for a chance to be really good, knowing that there was a real risk of failing because of all the choices The draft and the assets they traded. Love it. It puts them in the playoffs with a chance to do something – which wasn’t the case before.”
Here I speak: I’ll speak at the City Library on Tuesday, September 13th, 6:30 p.m. It’s free. I’ll take questions, sign books, and meet fans.
Pluto’s last terry columns