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Will the Cavaliers lose Donovan Mitchell?

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(Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports)

Will the Cavaliers lose Donovan Mitchell?

The Cleveland Cavaliers are going to Game 7 against the Orlando Magic in the opening round of the 2023-24 NBA playoffs after a 103-96 loss in Game 6. Orlando survived another day with the contributions of their young guys: Paolo Banchero, Franz Wagner, and Jalen Suggs. Cleveland, on the other hand, was riding the hot hand of Donovan Mitchell all night to a 50-piece. However, that may be over sooner rather than later.

Mitchell, 27, was traded to the Cavaliers before the 2023 season after spending his first five seasons with The Utah Jazz. In his two years with Cleveland Mitchell has been everything the team has asked for as their leading star, having the best season of his career in his first year with the organization. He boasted career highs in efficiency, scoring and owns the lowest turnover rate of his career. By the season’s end, Mitchell was top-6 in MVP and Clutch Player of the Year voting and received All-NBA second-team honors. The

This season was more of the same production-wise, although he would only play in 55 games this year. Mitchell saw career highs in rebounds and assists while his scoring and efficiency fell slightly. But what’s the dilemma?

The Dilemma

During the Donovan Mitchell Era, the Cleveland Cavaliers lack a deep postseason run. Cleveland has a good array of talent with Darius Garland coming into his own as an All-Star talent in recent years and the supporting group led by Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen. Allen missed the last two games with a rib contusion. The Cavaliers’ loss last night showed the flaws that this team is still dealing with. The rest of the roster has to show up with Mitchell. The team at the moment is living or dying with Mitchell’s performance.

In this series when the other guys on the roster get going this team is in the best position to win. All 18 fourth-quarter points from one of your stars are fantastic. It is not a good look if that is all of your production for the quarter–especially when six different players on the opposing team score at least once.

I understand this team is still young more playoff seasoning. Donovan Mitchell’s addition was expected to help get them ready for close-out games like last night. Credit to a young Orlando squad for seizing the opportunity to force a Game 7. This series has also highlighted flaws that they too will fix with time. The pressure is on Cleveland to win the series, leading the series at 2-0 and 3-2 at points. 

Trade rumors heading into the offseason have surrounded Mitchell, which will surely run wild if the Cavaliers fall to the Magic.

Teams like the New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers have been linked to Mitchell; however, he will not be a free agent until 2026. While it’s not certain that Mitchell will leave, the Cavaliers may need to make some decisions to propel the team back to legitimate contention in the next few years, rather than potentially facing more first-round exits with the current core.

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