The Toronto Raptors were one of a handful of teams who managed to extend some feels out there when it came to acquiring Utah Jazz standout Donovan Mitchell. Considering what a dominant scorer he could become in the right situation, it makes sense why Masai Ujiri was interested.
Mitchell would have been a dominant player in Toronto’s scheme, but the apprehension around acquiring him stemmed from the Jazz’ assistance on prioritizing draft picks rather than win-now pieces as they began the rebuild. Ujiri is not going to give up so many future assets.
The New York Knicks were linked to Mitchell for the longest time, which would have put a dominant scorer right in the thick of the Atlantic Division race. While that trade didn’t come to fruition, Mitchell still ended up on a team who might make a run in the Eastern Conference.
The Cleveland Cavaliers acquired Mitchell in exchange for Collin Sexton, Lauri Markkanen, and No. 14 pick Ochai Agbaji. Three first-round picks will be heading to Utah in the deal, while the Jazz also gain control of two first-round pick swaps. That’s quite a haul for an up-and-coming Cavs team.
The Toronto Raptors saw Donovan Mitchell get traded to the Cavaliers.
The Raptors would have needed to give away two starters, a young rotation player, and control of their draft for the next five years to acquire Mitchell. With Ujiri committed to building from the ground up with a very specific scheme, Mitchell was viewed as not necessarily compatible.
Mitchell averaged 26.1 points per game in the last two seasons, giving the Cavs the go-to scorer on the perimeter they needed. Mitchell and Darius Garland instantly become one of the best backcourts in the league and a great compliment to Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen in the frontcourt.
While the Cavs now have their starting lineup mostly taken care of, they did essentially give away their entire future for a player that is not going to make them a championship contender in the next two seasons. That is quite a big risk that Toronto was not willing to take on.
The Cavaliers are going to be a lethal team on both ends that inhibits Toronto’s ability to compete for a deep postseason run in the next few years. Mitchell getting traded to the East stings. Still, this will make the Raptors’ opening night matchup against Cleveland a must-see event.