In a new piece of news, ESPN reports that the Cleveland Cavaliers aggressively pursued three-time All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell to trade him to the Utah Jazz after the New York Knicks temporarily negotiated Monday night.
Sources said Cavaliers Jazz forward Laurie Markkennan is sending rookie Wing Ochai Agbazi guard Colin Sexton three unsecured first-round picks 2025, 2027 and 2029 and two pick swaps 2026 and 2028 for Mitchell.
His agent, Clutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, told ESPN that Saxton had agreed to a four-year, $72 million sign-and-trade deal to join the Jazz.
The deal turns the Cavaliers into an Eastern Conference contender with potential staying power, adding Mitchell to a lineup that includes two 2022 All-Stars. Guard Darius Garland and center Jarrett Allen – and runner-up of the year Evan Mobley, who is destined to become an All-NBA player.
As Utah reshapes its roster with off-season trades from All-Star Rudy Gobert and now Mitchell, the franchise has 13 unprotected or lightly protected first-round picks by 2029 and two by 2022. First-round picks include Agabazi of Kansas and 7.footer Walker Kessler who reached Minnesota with four first-round picks.
Utah plans to continue talks with unloading giants including Bojan Bogdanovic, Jordan Clarkson and Mike Connelly and is likely to reach an Oklahoma City-esque approach of the draft asset.
Cleveland president of basketball operations Kobe Altman was in discussions with the Jazz last weekend, but talks ended Friday when the two teams could not reach an agreement, sources said. Yet Altman returned to Utah general manager Justin Zanick on Tuesday morning. Arrived and started the conversation. Sources said they had struck a deal for Michelle within 48 hours.
Sources said New York had the property of choice of Utah and the side were approached for a trade on Sunday night and Monday, but the Knicks paired Quentin Grimes with RJ Barrett to acquire Mitchell.
Guard Emmanuel was proposed as Grimes’ replacement in the trade. Utah wanted to draft three unsecured first-round picks as part of the package, but New York would only make a third first-round pick, the top five security sources said. Those packages will include Milwaukee’s 2025 first-round pick, two second-round picks, two pick swaps and two expiring contracts from a third team, the sources said.
New York would have transferred Ivan Fournier and a first-round pick to the third team to save Utah from Fournier’s remaining $37 million. New York and Utah discussed several iterations of the Mitchell business, including a contract by Michelle Robinson. The expansion included a significant Knicks initial offering in early July before signing off.
Near the start of talks in early July, New York offered a package that would include the likes of Barrett Obie Toppin Robinson and three unsecured first-round picks, sources told ESPN. Utah turned down that offer, and Robinson signed off on his extension. Essentially eliminated the possibility that he could be part of a deal.
New York President Leon Rose was in parallel talks with Barrett’s agent Bill Duffy over a rookie contract extension and set Monday night as a deadline for the Jazz to strike a deal or finalize talks. Duffy told ESPN that Barrett’s deal is worth four years and up to $120 million, with Barrett’s sources sticking to a new deal. By the following July, he added a poison pill clause to his contract and allowed the Knicks and the Jazz to negotiate a new deal based on parameters.
New York planned to continue pursuing Mitchell but the Jazz made up for the Cleveland buzz and did not engage the Knicks again this week. The New York-born Mitchell was excited about the prospect of playing for the Knicks.
Mitchell became available in trade negotiations after the Jazz transferred Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves. He has four years and $134.9 million remaining on the maximum extension during the 2020 season, although the final season is a player option for $37.1 million.