Cleveland Cavaliers acquire Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell in blockbuster trade

After the New York Knicks temporarily walked away on talks Monday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers aggressively pursued and acquired three-time All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell in a trade with the Utah Jazz on Thursday, sources told ESPN.

The Cavaliers are sending the Jazz forward Lauri Markkanenrookie wing Ochai Agbajiguard Collin Sextonthree unprotected first-round picks (2025, 2027 and 2029) and two pick swaps (2026 and 2028) for Mitchell, sources said.

Sexton has agreed on a four-year, $72 million sign-and-trade deal to join the Jazz, his agent, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, told ESPN.

The deal transforms the Cavaliers into an Eastern Conference contender with potential staying power, adding Mitchell to a lineup that includes two 2022 All-Star players — guard Darius Garland and center Jarrett Allen — and Rookie of the Year runner-up Evan Mobleywho appears destined to become an All-NBA player.

As Utah reshapes its roster with offseason trades of All-Star Rudy Gobert and now Mitchell, the franchise has 13 unprotected or lightly protected first-round picks through 2029 and two 2022 first-round picks, including Kansas’ Agbaji and 7-footer Walker Kesslerwho arrived with four first-round picks from Minnesota.

Utah plans to continue talks on unloading veteran assets, including Bojan Bogdanovic, Jordan Clarkson and Mike Conley Jr., and could be approaching an Oklahoma City-esque haul of draft assets.

Cleveland general manager Koby Altman had been in discussions with the Jazz through late last week, but ended talks on Friday when the two teams couldn’t reach an agreement, sources said. Nevertheless, Altman reached back out to Utah general manager Justin Zanik on Tuesday morning and started the talks again, sources said. Within 48 hours, they had a deal for Mitchell.

New York had the assets package that Utah preferred and the sides seemed to be inching closer to a trade on Sunday night and into Monday, but New York balked on including Quentin Grimes into a trade with RJ Barrett to acquire Mitchell, sources said.

When guard Immanuel Quickley was proposed as a replacement for Grimes in the trade, Utah wanted three unprotected first-round draft picks as part of the package — but New York would only do a third first-round pick that included Top 5 protections, sources said. Those packages would’ve included two second-round picks, two pick swaps and two expiring contracts from a third team, sources said. New York would’ve moved out Evan Fournier and first-round pick to a third team to spare Utah taking on Fournier’s remaining $37 million, sources said.

New York president Leon Rose had been running a parallel negotiation with Barrett’s agent, Bill Duffy, on a rookie contract extension and set Monday night as a deadline with the Jazz to get a deal — or pause talks to finalize a new deal with Barrett, sources said. Barrett’s deal — four years and worth up to $120 million, Duffy told ESPN — added a “Poison Pill” provision to his contract until next July and would’ve forced the Knicks and Jazz to restart talks with new deal parameters based on the extension.

New York planned to continue pursuing Mitchell, sources said, but the Jazz pivoted to the Cleveland discussions and never again engaged New York in talks this week, sources said. The Knicks had made a calculated gamble that they could still get a deal done for Mitchell. A New York-area native, Mitchell had been enthusiastic over playing for the Knicks, sources said.

Mitchell became available in trade talks after the Jazz moved Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves in July. Mitchell, 25, has averaged 23.9 points and 4.5 assists per game during his five-year career with the Jazz, and he has been an All-Star each of the past three seasons. He has four years and $134.9 million remaining on the maximum extension he signed during the 2020 offseason, but the final season is a player option for $37.1 million.

Utah has made the playoffs the past six seasons, the longest current streak in the Western Conference, but the Jazz have not advanced past the second round during that span. The organization has undergone major changes in the wake of last year’s first-round exit against the Dallas Mavericks, including the resignation of coach Quin Snyder, the hiring of Will Hardy to replace him and trades of Gobert and starting forward Royce O’Neal.

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