Donovan Mitchell is now a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, but he still took the time to thank the Utah Jazz organization and their fans for a memorable five years in an Instagram post on Friday.
"Thank you for the memories and the incredible times… you guys watched me grow up on and off the floor… Coach Quin thank you for giving me the opportunity and trusting me to lead this team for the past 5 years‼️ Love," Mitchell wrote.
The Jazz traded Mitchell to the Cavaliers earlier this week in exchange for Lauri Markkanen, 2022 14th pick Ochai Agbaji, Collin Sexton, three unprotected first-round picks and two pick swaps.
Mitchell never requested a trade from the Jazz, but his departure from the organization was imminent following the deal that sent Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Utah has officially entered a rebuilding phase and holds 14 first-round picks over the next seven drafts. Capitalizing on the value of both Gobert and Mitchell seemed like it was in Danny Ainge's plans since the Jazz were eliminated from the 2022 playoffs.
Utah made the playoffs in each of Mitchell's five seasons, but the team failed to advance past the Western Conference Semifinals and was eliminated in the first round last season. It was clear that a change was needed, no matter how painful.
By trading Mitchell and Gobert, the Jazz now have a number of pieces to help it contend for the future. They could receive even more draft picks by potentially trading veterans Jordan Clarkson, Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic.
The Denver Nuggets selected Mitchell 13th overall in the 2017 NBA draft and traded him to the Jazz on draft night. In 345 games, he averaged 23.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists while shooting 44.1 percent from the floor and 36.1 percent from deep.
The Louisville product enters the 2022-23 season coming off a solid 2021-22 campaign that saw him average 25.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and 5.3 assists in 67 games while shooting 44.8 percent from the floor and 35.5 percent from deep.
Now in Cleveland, Mitchell will join a lineup that includes Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen and Isaac Okoro. The Cavs are now expected to contend for one of the Eastern Conference's top playoff spots.