Top Landing Spots For Cavaliers’ Donovan Mitchell If Cavaliers Trade Him

The Cleveland Cavaliers entered the 2023-24 NBA season ready to prove doubters wrong following a poor performance in the playoffs a year ago. Cleveland was armed with star guard Donovan Mitchell leading the charge, surrounded by plenty of young talented players. However, the end result was more of the same for the Cavaliers.

Cleveland barely squeaked out of the first round against the Magic, winning in a tough seven-game series. They then matched up with the juggernaut Boston Celtics and fell in five games. To the credit of the Cavaliers, they did grab a win in Game 2 of the series, but Mitchell missed the final two games due to a calf strain. Even if he had played, it was always unlikely for Cleveland to upset Boston.

Now that the Cavaliers are out, much larger decisions loom for Cleveland, including that Mitchell’s fate. There had already been talk about Mitchell potentially forcing his way out of town this summer and with another short playoff stint, that talk has now become more of a reality.

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – MAY 07: Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks on Game One of the Eastern Conference Second Round Playoffs against the Cleveland Cavaliers at TD Garden on May 07, 2024 in…

Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

He has two years left on his current contract, including a player option on the final season, but many around the league believe he will leave Cleveland. The Cavs will likely offer him a large extension this summer but if the star guard rejects it, Cleveland will need to move him before he leaves for nothing. Assuming Mitchell does reject an extension, here are five potential trade destinations for him this offseason.

1. New York Knicks

The Knicks would likely be seen as one of the favorites to land Mitchell if he were to become available this summer. Pairing him alongside Jalen Brunson would be lethal for opposing defenses to guard against and the Knicks are armed with plenty of draft capital to make a deal happen.

There have been rumors about Mitchell’s desire to play on a big stage, after his stints with the Utah Jazz and Cavs. It doesn’t get any bigger than New York. With the Knicks seen as a desired landing spot for star players once again, Mitchell could really help them sustain the success that they have built this season. The Knicks lead their second-round playoff series against the Indiana Pacers 3-2.

2. Los Angeles Lakers

After a disappointing first-round exit, the Lakers will be looking to make some big changes to their roster. Many expect the team to go big-game hunting, which could include potentially bringing Mitchell in to pair alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Los Angeles has been searching for a third star for a while and Mitchell could easily fit the bill. Austin Reaves would likely be the main piece heading back to Cleveland in any deal.

He would provide them with a better chance to win the NBA title next season, while also giving them a second star to put next to Davis in the post-James era. The Lakers should have three first-round picks to trade this summer, giving them a strong package to entice Cleveland.

3. Brooklyn Nets

Like the Knicks, the Nets would offer Mitchell a chance to play in New York. Brooklyn has been down the last few seasons, but adding in Mitchell to pair with Mikal Bridges would be a fun pairing. However, Cleveland may ask for Bridges in any deal.

The Nets’ failed trio of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden may have made team ownership hesitant to return to the multi-star approach, but Mitchell could really help them. His scoring ability would give them a legitimate threat on offense while giving the team more relevance in the Eastern Conference.

4. Orlando Magic

Could Mitchell head to the team that he helped knock out of the postseason? It’s possible. Orlando needs someone to pair alongside Paolo Banchero and Mitchell got a first-hand look at how good he already is. Maybe the Magic decide to go all-in this offseason to land a guy like Mithcell and build off the success they saw this season.

Orlando has some pieces that could entice the Cavaliers to do a deal here and the Magic would instantly become a major threat in the East. Don’t sleep on this Magic team upgrading this offseason, whether it’s with Mitchell or someone else.

5. Houston Rockets

If the Cavaliers want to send Mitchell out of the East, Houston could be a landing spot. The Rockets showed some real growth this past season and by adding a true star player, they could take that next step. Pairing him alongside Alperen Şengün and Fred VanVleet would make the Rockets a threat in the Western Conference.

Cleveland would likely want either Şengün or Jalen Green in any deal, giving them a building block. Houston also has plenty of draft assets ready for use, including the No. 3 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft.