Former Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell couldn't be any happier about his trade to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are now considered Eastern Conference contenders.
"I know that Donovan was very excited when he found out initially—when he found out that he was traded, No. 1, and 2, that he was traded to the Cavs and that the Cavs were not trading any of their three star players for him," ESPN's Brian Windhorst said Thursday on his podcast (9:30 mark).
Mitchell essentially confirmed his excitement in multiple Twitter posts:
The Cavs sent Lauri Markkanen, 2022 14th pick Ochai Agbaji, Collin Sexton, three unprotected first-round picks and two pick swaps to the Jazz for Mitchell.
The Cavs finished the 2021-22 campaign eighth in the Eastern Conference with a 44-38 record, making the play-in tournament but failing to earn a spot in the playoffs. It was the team's first winning season since the 2017-18 campaign when it reached the NBA Finals.
Cleveland will now field one of the most talented starting lineups in the Eastern Conference, with Mitchell, Darius Garland, Isaac Okoro, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen sharing the court.
They should now be able to contend with the likes of the Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat for one of the East's top spots.
Mitchell had been a staple in the Jazz lineup since 2017 and enters the 2022-23 campaign having earned three straight All-Star selections. He averaged 25.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and 5.3 assists while shooting 44.8 percent from the floor and 35.5 percent from deep last season.
The New York Knicks were considered the favorite to land Mitchell throughout the summer, but the Cavaliers were lurking in the shadows and finally broke through in negotiations once the Knicks "temporarily" stepped away from trade discussions on Monday night, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Mitchell is under contract through the 2024-25 season and has a player option for the 2025-26 campaign. If he finds success in Cleveland, it's reasonable to believe he'll be interested in sticking around.