Cavaliers acquire Donovan Mitchell, vault up futures boards

By Jonathan Von Tobel  (Senior NBA Analyst) 

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In a somewhat surprising move, the Cleveland Cavaliers acquired Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell on Wednesday, according to multiple reports.

The Cavaliers are sending Lauri Markkanen, rookie Ochai Agbaji, Collin Sexton, unprotected first-round picks in 2025, 2027 and 2029 as well as pick swaps in 2026 and 2028 in return for Mitchell who is under contract through the 2024-2025 season with a player option for the following year.

With the move Cleveland becomes a more likely contender in the Eastern Conference, a year after they finished seventh and failed to make it out of the play-in tournament. SuperBook Sports moved the Cavaliers from 100-1 (1.0% implied probability) to win the NBA Finals to 40-1 (2.4%), and from 50-1 (2%) to win the conference to 18-1 (5.3%). Their win total was adjusted by four wins from 42.5 to 46.5 as well.

Meanwhile, the numbers continue to plummet for Utah. Their win total opened as high as 33 at Circa Sports but is now as low as 24.5 at and they are now 500-1 (0.2%) to win a title at multiple shops.

This move also altered the odds for a few teams in the Eastern Conference as well, as Miami moves from 10-1 to 12-1 to win the NBA Finals and New York gets its win total shaved down from 40.5 to 39.5 at SuperBook Sports. Both teams were considered the top landing spots for Mitchell before today.

There are many who will want to know if Cleveland becomes a viable option to bet on in various markets with this move, but as the adjustments have been made there is little value in attacking these numbers now. One option to consider – and a bet I have made personally – Evan Mobley to win Defensive Player of the Year. 

Mobley is a tremendous defender and when he was on the floor at power forward last season the Cavaliers allowed just 108.3 points per 100 possessions. Mitchell and his new backcourt mate Darius Garland are poor defenders at best, and the onus of defensive play will be on Mobley and Jarrett Allen. Mobley’s reputation as a stout defender precedes him, so he will already be on the radar of voters when the season begins. Look for him to clean up Mitchell and Garland’s messes a la Rudy Gobert in Utah. He can be found at 40-1 at BetMGM.

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